Goldman Sachs Group 10-K 2009
Documents found in this filing:
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.
Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrants knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of the Annual Report on Form 10-K or any amendment to the Annual Report on Form 10-K. x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of large accelerated filer, accelerated filer and smaller reporting company in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer x Accelerated filer o Non-accelerated filer (Do not check if a smaller reporting company) o Smaller reporting company o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o No x
As of May 30, 2008, the aggregate market value of the common stock of the registrant held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $68.2 billion.
As of January 16, 2009, there were 461,784,433 shares of the registrants common stock outstanding.
Documents incorporated by reference: Portions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.s Proxy Statement for its 2009 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on May 8, 2009 are incorporated by reference in the Annual Report on Form 10-K in response to Part III, Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED NOVEMBER 28, 2008
Goldman Sachs is a bank holding company and a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of services worldwide to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. Goldman Sachs is the successor to a commercial paper business founded in 1869 by Marcus Goldman. On May 7, 1999, we converted from a partnership to a corporation and completed an initial public offering of our common stock. On September 21, 2008, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (Group Inc.) became a bank holding company regulated by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve Board) under the U.S. Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (BHC Act). Our depository institution subsidiary, Goldman Sachs Bank USA (GS Bank USA), became a New York State-chartered bank on November 28, 2008.
Our activities are divided into three segments: (i) Investment Banking, (ii) Trading and Principal Investments and (iii) Asset Management and Securities Services.
All references to 2008, 2007 and 2006 refer to our fiscal years ended, or the dates, as the context requires, November 28, 2008, November 30, 2007 and November 24, 2006, respectively. When we use the terms Goldman Sachs, the firm, we, us and our, we mean The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and its consolidated subsidiaries. References herein to our Annual Report on Form 10-K are to our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended November 28, 2008.
On December 15, 2008, our Board of Directors approved a change in our fiscal year-end from the last Friday of November to the last Friday of December. The change is effective for our 2009 fiscal year. Our 2009 fiscal year began December 27, 2008 and will end December 25, 2009, resulting in a one-month transition period that began November 29, 2008 and ended December 26, 2008. Information on this one-month transition period will be included in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 27, 2009.
Financial information concerning our business segments and geographic regions for each of 2008, 2007 and 2006 is set forth in Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, the consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto, and the supplemental financial information, which are in Part II, Items 7, 7A and 8 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our internet address is www.gs.com and the investor relations section of our web site is located at www.gs.com/shareholders. We make available free of charge, on or through the investor relations section of our web site, annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act), as well as proxy statements, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Also posted on our web site, and available in print upon request of any shareholder to our Investor Relations Department, are our certificate of incorporation and by-laws, charters for our Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee, our Policy Regarding Director Independence Determinations, our Policy on Reporting of Concerns Regarding Accounting and Other Matters, our Corporate Governance Guidelines and our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics governing our directors, officers and employees. Within the time period required by the SEC and the New York Stock Exchange, we will post on our web site any amendment to the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and any waiver applicable to any executive officer, director or senior financial officer (as defined in the Code). In addition, our web site includes information concerning purchases and sales of our equity securities by our executive officers and directors, as well as disclosure relating to certain non-GAAP financial measures (as defined in the SECs Regulation G) that we may make public orally, telephonically, by webcast, by broadcast or by similar means from time to time.
Our Investor Relations Department can be contacted at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., 85 Broad Street, 17th Floor, New York, New York 10004, Attn: Investor Relations, telephone: 212-902-0300, e-mail: email@example.com.
We have included or incorporated by reference in our Annual Report on Form 10-K, and from time to time our management may make, statements that may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only our beliefs regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside our control. These statements include statements other than historical information or statements of current condition and may relate to our future plans and objectives and results, among other things, and may also include our belief regarding the effect of various legal proceedings, as set forth under Legal Proceedings in Part I, Item 3 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as statements about the objectives and effectiveness of our risk management and liquidity policies, statements about trends in or growth opportunities for our businesses, statements about our future status, activities or reporting under U.S. banking regulation, and statements about our investment banking transaction backlog, in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K. By identifying these statements for you in this manner, we are alerting you to the possibility that our actual results and financial condition may differ, possibly materially, from the anticipated results and financial condition indicated in these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause our actual results and financial condition to differ from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include, among others, those discussed below and under Risk Factors in Part I, Item 1A of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
In the case of statements about our investment banking transaction backlog, such statements are subject to the risk that the terms of these transactions may be modified or that they may not be completed at all; therefore, the net revenues, if any, that we actually earn from these transactions may differ, possibly materially, from those currently expected. Important factors that could result in a modification of the terms of a transaction or a transaction not being completed include, in the case of underwriting transactions, a decline or continued weakness in general economic conditions, outbreak of hostilities, volatility in the securities markets generally or an adverse development with respect to the issuer of the securities and, in the case of financial advisory transactions, a decline in the securities markets, an inability to obtain adequate financing, an adverse development with respect to a party to the transaction or a failure to obtain a required regulatory approval. For a discussion of other important factors that could adversely affect our investment banking transactions, see Risk Factors in Part I, Item 1A of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Segment Operating Results
As of November 28, 2008, we operated offices in over 30 countries and 43% of our 30,067 employees were based outside the Americas (which includes the countries in North and South America). In 2008, we derived 30% of our net revenues outside of the Americas. See geographic information in Note 18 to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our clients are located worldwide, and we are an active participant in financial markets around the world. We have developed and continue to build strong investment banking relationships in new and developing markets. We also continue to expand our presence throughout these markets to invest strategically when opportunities arise and to work more closely with our private wealth and asset management clients in these regions. Our global reach is illustrated by the following:
Our businesses are supported by our Global Investment Research division, which, as of November 2008, provided research coverage of over 3,250 companies worldwide and over 45 national economies, and maintained a presence in locations around the world.
We continue to expand our geographic reach. For example, in recent years we have opened offices in Mumbai, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Qatar, Riyadh and Tel Aviv, become licensed as a broker-dealer in Russia, India and China, opened banks in Brazil, Ireland and Russia and entered into the asset management business in South Korea and India.
The primary products and activities of our business segments are set forth in the following chart:
Investment Banking represented 23% of 2008 net revenues. We provide a broad range of investment banking services to a diverse group of corporations, financial institutions, investment funds, governments and individuals and seek to develop and maintain long-term relationships with these clients as their lead investment bank.
Our current structure, which is organized by regional, industry and product groups, seeks to combine client-focused investment bankers with execution and industry expertise. We continually assess and adapt our organization to meet the demands of our clients in each geographic region. Through our commitment to teamwork, we believe that we provide services in an integrated fashion for the benefit of our clients.
Our goal is to make available to our clients the entire resources of the firm in a seamless fashion, with investment banking serving as front of the house. To accomplish this objective, we focus on coordination among our equity and debt underwriting activities and our corporate risk and liability management activities. This coordination is intended to assist our investment banking clients in managing their asset and liability exposures and their capital.
Our Investment Banking segment is divided into two components: Financial Advisory and Underwriting.
Financial Advisory includes advisory assignments with respect to mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, corporate defense activities, restructurings and spin-offs. Our mergers and acquisitions capabilities are evidenced by our significant share of assignments in large, complex transactions for which we provide multiple services, including one-stop acquisition financing and cross-border structuring expertise, as well as services in other areas of the firm, such as interest rate and currency hedging. In particular, a significant number of the loan commitments and bank and bridge loan facilities that we enter into arise in connection with our advisory assignments.
Underwriting includes public offerings and private placements of a wide range of securities and other financial instruments, including common and preferred stock, convertible and exchangeable securities, investment-grade debt, high-yield debt, sovereign and emerging market debt, municipal debt, bank loans, asset-backed securities and real estate-related securities, such as mortgage-related securities and the securities of real estate investment trusts.
Equity Underwriting. Equity underwriting has been a long-term core strength of Goldman Sachs. As with mergers and acquisitions, we have been particularly successful in winning mandates for large, complex transactions. We believe our leadership in worldwide initial public offerings and worldwide public common stock offerings reflects our expertise in complex transactions, prior experience and distribution capabilities.
Debt Underwriting. We engage in the underwriting and origination of various types of debt instruments, including investment-grade debt securities, high-yield debt securities, bank and bridge loans and emerging market debt securities, which may be issued by, among others, corporate, sovereign and agency issuers. In addition, we underwrite and originate structured securities, which include mortgage-related securities and other asset-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations.
Trading and Principal Investments represented 41% of 2008 net revenues. Trading and Principal Investments facilitates client transactions with a diverse group of corporations, financial institutions, investment funds, governments and individuals and takes proprietary positions through market making in, trading of and investing in fixed income and equity products, currencies, commodities and derivatives on these products. In addition, we engage in market-making and specialist activities on equities and options exchanges, and we clear client transactions on major stock, options and futures exchanges worldwide. In connection with our merchant banking and other investing activities, we make principal investments directly and through funds that we raise and manage.
To meet the needs of our clients, Trading and Principal Investments is diversified across a wide range of products. We believe our willingness and ability to take risk to facilitate client transactions distinguishes us from many of our competitors and substantially enhances our client relationships.
Our Trading and Principal Investments segment is divided into three components: Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities; Equities; and Principal Investments.
Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (FICC) and Equities are large and diversified operations through which we engage in a variety of client-driven and proprietary trading and investing activities.
In our client-driven businesses, FICC and Equities strive to deliver high-quality service by offering broad market-making and market knowledge to our clients on a global basis. In addition, we use our expertise to take positions in markets, by committing capital and taking risk, to facilitate client transactions and to provide liquidity. Our willingness to make markets, commit capital and take risk in a broad range of fixed income, currency, commodity and equity products and their derivatives is crucial to our client relationships and to support our underwriting business by providing secondary market liquidity.
We generate trading net revenues from our client-driven businesses in three ways:
Our FICC and Equities businesses operate in close coordination to provide clients with services and cross-market knowledge and expertise.
In our proprietary activities in both FICC and Equities, we assume a variety of risks and devote resources to identify, analyze and benefit from these exposures. We capitalize on our analytical models to analyze information and make informed trading judgments, and we seek to benefit from perceived disparities in the value of assets in the trading markets and from macroeconomic and issuer-specific trends.
We make markets in and trade interest rate and credit products, mortgage-related securities and loan products and other asset-backed instruments, currencies and commodities, structure and enter into a wide variety of derivative transactions, and engage in proprietary trading and investing. FICC has five principal businesses: commodities; credit products; currencies; interest rate products, including money market instruments; and mortgage-related securities and loan products and other asset-backed instruments.
Commodities. We enter into trades with our clients in, make markets in, and trade for our own account a wide variety of commodities, commodity derivatives and interests in commodity-related assets, including oil and oil products, metals, natural gas and electricity, and forest products. As part of our commodities business, we acquire and dispose of interests in, and engage in the development and operation of, electric power generation facilities and related activities.
Credit Products. We offer to and trade for our clients a broad array of credit and credit-linked products all over the world, including credit derivatives, investment-grade corporate securities, high-yield securities, bank and secured loans (origination and trading), municipal securities, and emerging market and distressed debt. For example, we enter, as principal, into complex structured transactions designed to meet client needs.
In addition, we provide credit through bridge and other loan facilities to a broad range of clients. Commitments that are extended for contingent acquisition financing are often intended to be short-term in nature, as borrowers often seek to replace them with other funding sources. As part of our ongoing credit origination activities, we may seek to reduce our credit risk on commitments by syndicating all or substantial portions of commitments to other investors or, upon funding, by securitizing the positions through investment vehicles sold to other investors. Underwriting fees from syndications of these commitments are recorded in debt underwriting in our Investment Banking segment. However, to the extent that we recognize losses on these commitments, such losses are recorded within our Trading and Principal Investments segment, net of any related underwriting fees. See Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations Contractual Obligations and Commitments in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information on our commitments.
Our credit products business includes making significant long-term and short-term investments for our own account (sometimes investing together with our merchant banking funds) in a broad array of asset classes (including distressed debt) globally. We opportunistically invest in debt and equity securities and secured loans, and in private equity, real estate and other assets.
Currencies. We act as a dealer in foreign exchange and trade for our clients and ourselves in most currencies on exchanges and in cash and derivative markets globally.
Interest Rate Products. We trade and make markets in a variety of interest rate products, including interest rate swaps, options and other derivatives, and government bonds, as well as money market instruments, such as commercial paper, treasury bills, repurchase agreements and other highly liquid securities and instruments. This business includes our matched book, which consists of short-term collateralized financing transactions.
Mortgage Business. We make markets in and trade for our clients and ourselves commercial and residential mortgage-related securities and loan products (including agency prime and non-agency prime, Alt-A and subprime mortgages) and other asset-backed and derivative instruments. We acquire positions in these products for proprietary trading purposes as well as for securitization or syndication. We also originate and service commercial and residential mortgages.
We make markets in and trade equities and equity-related products, structure and enter into equity derivative transactions, and engage in proprietary trading. We generate commissions from executing and clearing client transactions on major stock, options and futures exchanges worldwide through our Equities client franchise and clearing activities.
Equities includes two principal businesses: our client franchise business and principal strategies. We also engage in specialist and insurance activities.
Client Franchise Business. Our client franchise business includes primarily client-driven activities in the shares, equity derivatives and convertible securities markets. These activities also include clearing client transactions on major stock, options and futures exchanges worldwide, as well as our options specialist and market-making businesses. Our client franchise business increasingly involves providing our clients with access to electronic low-touch equity trading platforms, and electronic trades account for the majority of our client trading activity in this business. However, a majority of our net revenues in this business continues to be derived from our traditional high-touch handling of more complex trades. We expect both types of trading activities to remain important components of our client franchise business.
We trade equity securities and equity-related products, including convertible securities, options, futures and over-the-counter (OTC) derivative instruments, on a global basis as an agent, as a market maker or otherwise as a principal. As a principal, we facilitate client transactions, often by committing capital and taking risk, to provide liquidity to clients with large blocks of stocks or options. For example, we are active in the execution of large block trades. We also execute transactions as agent and offer clients direct electronic access to trading markets.
In the options and futures markets, we structure, distribute and execute derivatives on market indices, industry groups, financial measures and individual company stocks to facilitate client transactions and our proprietary activities. We develop strategies and render advice with respect to portfolio hedging and restructuring and asset allocation transactions. We also create specially tailored instruments to enable sophisticated investors to undertake hedging strategies and to establish or liquidate investment positions. We are one of the leading participants in the trading and development of equity derivative instruments. In options, we are a specialist and/or market maker on the International Securities Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, NYSE Arca, the Boston Options Exchange, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, NYSE Alternext US and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Principal Strategies. Our principal strategies business is a multi-strategy investment business that invests and trades our capital across global markets. Investment strategies include fundamental equities and relative value trading (which involves trading strategies designed to take advantage of perceived discrepancies in the relative value of financial instruments, including equity, equity-related and debt instruments), event-driven investments (which focus on event-oriented special situations such as corporate restructurings, bankruptcies, recapitalizations, mergers and acquisitions, and legal and regulatory events), convertible bond trading, various types of volatility trading and principal finance.
At the start of our first fiscal quarter of 2008, we reassigned approximately one-half of the traders and other personnel and transferred approximately one-half of the firms assets comprising our principal strategies business to our asset management business in an effort to strengthen and diversify our asset management offerings. These assets are invested in an alternative investment fund managed by our asset management business.
Specialist Activities. Our specialist activities business consists of our stock and exchange-traded funds (ETF) specialist and market-making businesses. We engage in specialist and market-making activities on equities exchanges. In the United States, we are one of the leading designated market makers for stocks traded on the NYSE. For ETFs, we are registered market makers on NYSE Arca.
Insurance Activities. Through our insurance subsidiaries, we engage in a range of insurance and reinsurance businesses, including buying, originating and/or reinsuring variable annuity and life insurance contracts, reinsuring property catastrophe and residential homeowner risks and providing power interruption coverage to power generating facilities.
Principal Investments primarily represents net revenues from three primary sources: returns on corporate and real estate investments; overrides on corporate and real estate investments made by merchant banking funds that we manage; and our investment in the ordinary shares of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC).
Returns on Corporate and Real Estate Investments. As of November 2008, the aggregate carrying value of our principal investments held directly or through our merchant banking funds, excluding our investment in the ordinary shares of ICBC, was $15.13 billion, comprised of corporate principal investments with an aggregate carrying value of $12.16 billion and real estate investments with an aggregate carrying value of $2.97 billion. In addition, as of November 2008, we had outstanding unfunded equity capital commitments of up to $13.47 billion, comprised of corporate principal investment commitments of $10.39 billion and real estate investment commitments of $3.08 billion.
Overrides. Consists of the increased share of the income and gains derived from our merchant banking funds when the return on a funds investments over the life of the fund exceeds certain threshold returns (typically referred to as an override). Overrides are recognized in net revenues when all material contingencies have been resolved.
ICBC. Our investment in the ordinary shares of ICBC was acquired on April 28, 2006. The ordinary shares acquired from ICBC are subject to transfer restrictions that, among other things, prohibit any sale, disposition or other transfer until April 28, 2009. From April 28, 2009 to October 20, 2009, we may transfer up to 50% of the aggregate ordinary shares of ICBC that we owned as of October 20, 2006. We may transfer the remaining shares after October 20, 2009. As of November 2008, the fair value of our investment in the ordinary shares of ICBC was $5.50 billion. A portion of our interest is held by investment funds managed by Goldman Sachs. For further information regarding our investment in the ordinary shares of ICBC, see Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations Critical Accounting Policies Fair Value Cash Instruments in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Asset Management and Securities Services represented 36% of 2008 net revenues. Our asset management business provides investment advisory and financial planning services and offers investment products (primarily through separately managed accounts and commingled vehicles) across all major asset classes to a diverse group of institutions and individuals worldwide and primarily generates revenues in the form of management and incentive fees. Securities Services provides prime brokerage services, financing services and securities lending services to institutional clients, including hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds and foundations, and to high-net-worth individuals worldwide, and generates revenues primarily in the form of interest rate spreads or fees.
Our Asset Management and Securities Services segment is divided into two components: Asset Management and Securities Services.
We offer a broad array of investment strategies, advice and planning. We provide asset management services and offer investment products (primarily through separately managed accounts and commingled vehicles, such as mutual funds and private investment funds) across all major asset classes: money markets, fixed income, equities and alternative investments (including hedge funds, private equity, real estate, currencies, commodities and asset allocation strategies). Through our subsidiary, The Ayco Company, L.P., we also provide fee-based financial counseling and financial education in the United States.
Assets under management (AUM) typically generate fees as a percentage of asset value, which is affected by investment performance and by inflows and redemptions. The fees that we charge vary by asset class, as do our related expenses. In certain circumstances, we are also entitled to receive incentive fees based on a percentage of a funds return or when the return on assets under management exceeds specified benchmark returns or other performance targets. Incentive fees are recognized when the performance period ends and they are no longer subject to adjustment. We have numerous incentive fee arrangements, many of which have annual performance periods that end on December 31. For that reason, incentive fees have been seasonally weighted to our first quarter.
AUM includes our mutual funds, alternative investment funds and separately managed accounts for institutional and individual investors. Alternative investments include our merchant banking funds, which generate revenues as described below under Management of Merchant Banking Funds. AUM includes assets in clients brokerage accounts to the extent that they generate fees based on the assets in the accounts rather than commissions on transactional activity in the accounts.
AUM does not include assets in brokerage accounts that generate commissions, mark-ups and spreads based on transactional activity, or our own investments in funds that we manage. Net revenues from these assets are included in our Trading and Principal Investments segment. AUM also does not include non-fee-paying assets, including interest-bearing deposits held through our bank depository institution subsidiaries.
The amount of AUM is set forth in the graph below. In the following graph, as well as in the following tables, substantially all assets under management are valued as of November 30:
Assets Under Management
The following table sets forth AUM by asset class:
Assets Under Management by Asset Class
Clients. Our clients are institutions and individuals, including both high-net-worth and retail investors. We access institutional and high-net-worth clients through both direct and third-party channels and retail clients primarily through third-party channels. Our institutional clients include pension funds, governmental organizations, corporations, insurance companies, banks, foundations and endowments. In third-party distribution channels, we distribute our mutual funds, alternative investment funds and separately managed accounts through brokerage firms, banks, insurance companies and other financial intermediaries. Our clients are located worldwide.
The table below sets forth the amount of AUM by distribution channel and client category:
Assets Under Management by Distribution Channel
Management of Merchant Banking Funds. Goldman Sachs sponsors numerous corporate and real estate private investment funds. As of November 2008, the amount of AUM in these funds (including both funded amounts and unfunded commitments on which we earn fees) was $93 billion.
Our strategy with respect to these funds generally is to invest opportunistically to build a portfolio of investments that is diversified by industry, product type, geographic region, and transaction structure and type. Our corporate investment funds pursue, on a global basis, long-term investments in equity and debt securities in privately negotiated transactions, leveraged buyouts, acquisitions and investments in funds managed by external parties. Our real estate investment funds invest in real estate operating companies, debt and equity interests in real estate assets, and other real estate-related investments. In addition, our merchant banking funds include funds that invest in infrastructure and infrastructure-related assets and companies on a global basis.
Merchant banking activities generate three primary revenue streams. First, we receive a management fee that is generally a percentage of a funds committed capital, invested capital, total gross acquisition cost or asset value. These annual management fees are included in our Asset Management net revenues. Second, Goldman Sachs, as a substantial investor in some of these funds, is allocated its proportionate share of the funds unrealized appreciation or depreciation arising from changes in fair value as well as gains and losses upon realization. Third, after a fund has achieved a minimum return for fund investors, we receive an increased share of the funds income and gains that is a percentage of the income and gains from the funds investments. The second and third of these revenue streams are included in Principal Investments within our Trading and Principal Investments segment.
Securities Services provides prime brokerage services, financing services and securities lending services to institutional clients, including hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds and foundations, and to high-net-worth individuals worldwide.
Prime brokerage services. We offer prime brokerage services to our clients, allowing them the flexibility to trade with most brokers while maintaining a single source for financing and consolidated portfolio reports. Our prime brokerage business provides clearing and custody in 53 markets globally and provides consolidated multi-currency accounting and reporting, fund administration and other ancillary services.
Financing services. A central element of our prime brokerage business involves providing financing to our clients for their securities trading activities through margin and securities loans that are collateralized by securities, cash or other acceptable collateral.
Securities lending services. Securities lending services principally involve the borrowing and lending of securities to cover clients and Goldman Sachs short sales and otherwise to make deliveries into the market. In addition, we are an active participant in the broker-to-broker securities lending business and the third-party agency lending business. Net revenues in securities lending services are, as a general matter, weighted toward our second and third quarters each year due to seasonally higher activity levels in Europe.
Global Investment Research provides fundamental research on companies, industries, economies, currencies and commodities and macro strategy research on a worldwide basis.
Global Investment Research employs a team approach that as of November 2008 provided research coverage of over 3,250 companies worldwide and over 45 national economies. This is accomplished by the following departments:
Further information regarding research at Goldman Sachs is provided below under Regulation Regulations Applicable in and Outside the United States and Legal Proceedings Research Independence Matters in Part I, Item 3 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Business continuity and information security are high priorities for Goldman Sachs. Our Business Continuity Program has been developed to provide reasonable assurance of business continuity in the event of disruptions at the firms critical facilities and to comply with the regulatory requirements of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Because we are a bank holding company, our Business Continuity Program will be subject to review by the Federal Reserve Board. The key elements of the program are crisis management, people recovery facilities, business recovery, systems and data recovery, and process improvement. In the area of information security, we have developed and implemented a framework of principles, policies and technology to protect the information assets of the firm and our clients. Safeguards are applied to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information resources.
Management believes that a major strength and principal reason for the success of Goldman Sachs is the quality and dedication of our people and the shared sense of being part of a team. We strive to maintain a work environment that fosters professionalism, excellence, diversity, cooperation among our employees worldwide and high standards of business ethics.
Instilling the Goldman Sachs culture in all employees is a continuous process, in which training plays an important part. All employees are offered the opportunity to participate in education and periodic seminars that we sponsor at various locations throughout the world. Another important part of instilling the Goldman Sachs culture is our employee review process. Employees are reviewed by supervisors, co-workers and employees they supervise in a 360-degree review process that is integral to our team approach.
As of November 2008, we had 30,067 employees, excluding 4,671 employees of certain consolidated entities that are held for investment purposes only. Consolidated entities held for investment purposes are entities that are held strictly for capital appreciation, have a defined exit strategy and are engaged in activities that are not closely related to our principal businesses.
The financial services industry and all of our businesses are intensely competitive, and we expect them to remain so. Our competitors are other entities that provide investment banking, securities and investment management services, as well as those entities that make investments in securities, commodities, derivatives, real estate, loans and other financial assets. These entities include brokers and dealers, investment banking firms, commercial banks, insurance companies, investment advisers, mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity funds and merchant banks. We compete with some of our competitors globally and with others on a regional, product or niche basis. Our competition is based on a number of factors, including transaction execution, our products and services, innovation, reputation and price.
We also face intense competition in attracting and retaining qualified employees. Our ability to continue to compete effectively in our businesses will depend upon our ability to attract new employees and retain and motivate our existing employees.
Over time, there has been substantial consolidation and convergence among companies in the financial services industry. This trend accelerated over the course of the past year as the credit crisis caused numerous mergers and asset acquisitions among industry participants. Many commercial banks and other broad-based financial services firms have had the ability for some time to offer a wide range of products, from loans, deposit-taking and insurance to brokerage, asset management and investment banking services, which may enhance their competitive position. They also have had the ability to support investment banking and securities products with commercial banking, insurance and other financial services revenues in an effort to gain market share, which has resulted in pricing pressure in our investment banking and trading businesses and could result in pricing pressure in other of our businesses.
Moreover, we have faced, and expect to continue to face, pressure to retain market share by committing capital to businesses or transactions on terms that offer returns that may not be commensurate with their risks. In particular, corporate clients seek such commitments (such as agreements to participate in their commercial paper backstop or other loan facilities) from financial services firms in connection with investment banking and other assignments.
We provide these commitments primarily through GS Bank USA and its subsidiaries, including our William Street entities and Goldman Sachs Credit Partners L.P. With respect to most of the William Street commitments, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc. (SMFG) provides us with credit loss protection that is generally limited to 95% of the first loss we realize on approved loan commitments, up to a maximum of $1.00 billion. In addition, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, upon our request, SMFG will provide protection for 70% of additional losses on such commitments, up to a maximum of $1.13 billion, of which $375 million of protection has been provided as of November 2008. We also use other financial instruments to mitigate credit risks related to certain William Street commitments not covered by SMFG. See Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations Contractual Obligations and Commitments in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K and Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information regarding the William Street entities and for a description of the credit loss protection provided by SMFG. An increasing number of our commitments in connection with investment banking and other assignments do not meet the criteria established for the William Street entities and do not benefit from the SMFG loss protection. These commitments are issued through GS Bank USA and its subsidiaries or our other subsidiaries.
The trend toward consolidation and convergence has significantly increased the capital base and geographic reach of some of our competitors. This trend has also hastened the globalization of the securities and other financial services markets. As a result, we have had to commit capital to support our international operations and to execute large global transactions. To take advantage of some of our most significant challenges and opportunities, we will have to compete successfully with financial institutions that are larger and better capitalized and that may have a stronger local presence and longer operating history outside the United States.
We have experienced intense price competition in some of our businesses in recent years. There has been considerable pressure in the pricing of block trades. Also, equity and debt underwriting discounts, as well as trading spreads, have been under pressure for a number of years and the ability to execute trades electronically, through the internet and through alternative trading systems, has increased the pressure on trading commissions. It appears that this trend toward electronic and other low-touch, low-commission trading will continue. We believe that we will continue to experience competitive pressures in these and other areas in the future as some of our competitors seek to obtain market share by reducing prices.
Goldman Sachs, as a participant in the banking, securities, commodity futures and options and insurance industries, is subject to extensive regulation in the United States and the other countries in which we operate. See Risk Factors Our businesses and those of our clients are subject to extensive and pervasive regulation around the world in Part I, Item 1A of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for a further discussion of the effect that regulation may have on our businesses. As a matter of public policy, regulatory bodies around the world are charged with safeguarding the integrity of the securities and other financial markets and with protecting the interests of clients participating in those markets, including depositors in U.S. depository institutions such as GS Bank USA. They are not, however, generally charged with protecting the interests of Goldman Sachs shareholders or creditors.
On September 21, 2008, Group Inc. became a bank holding company under the BHC Act. As of that date, the Federal Reserve Board became the primary U.S. regulator of Group Inc., as a consolidated entity. Prior to September 21, 2008, Group Inc. was subject to regulation by the SEC as a Consolidated Supervised Entity (CSE) and was subject to group-wide supervision and examination by the SEC and to minimum capital standards on a consolidated basis. On September 26, 2008, the SEC announced that it was ending the CSE program. Our principal U.S. broker-dealer, Goldman, Sachs & Co. (GS&Co.) remains subject to regulation by the SEC.
As a bank holding company under the BHC Act, Group Inc. is now subject to supervision and examination by the Federal Reserve Board. Under the system of functional regulation established under the BHC Act, the Federal Reserve Board supervises Group Inc., including all of its nonbank subsidiaries, as an umbrella regulator of the consolidated organization and generally defers to the primary U.S. regulators of Group Inc.s U.S. depository institution subsidiary, as applicable, and to the other U.S. regulators of Group Inc.s U.S. non-depository institution subsidiaries that regulate certain activities of those subsidiaries. Such functionally regulated non-depository institution subsidiaries include broker-dealers registered with the SEC, insurance companies regulated by state insurance authorities, investment advisors registered with the SEC with respect to their investment advisory activities and entities regulated by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) with respect to certain futures-related activities.
The BHC Act generally restricts us from engaging in business activities other than the business of banking and certain closely related activities. However, the BHC Act also grants a new bank holding company, such as Group Inc., two years from the date the entity becomes a bank holding company to comply with the restrictions on its activities imposed by the BHC Act with respect to any activities that it was engaged in when it became a bank holding company. We expect that this grandfather right will allow us to continue to conduct our business substantially as we have in the past until at least September 22, 2010. In addition, under the BHC Act, we can apply to the Federal Reserve Board for up to three one-year extensions.
Under the U.S. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLB Act), an eligible bank holding company may elect to become a financial holding company. Financial holding companies may engage in a broader range of financial and related activities than are permissible for bank holding companies as long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements for financial holding companies. These activities include underwriting, dealing and making markets in securities, insurance underwriting and making merchant banking investments in nonfinancial companies. In addition, the GLB Act also allows a company that was not a bank holding company and becomes a financial holding company after November 12, 1999 to continue to engage in certain commodities activities that are otherwise
impermissible for bank holding companies if the company was engaged in any of these activities in the United States as of September 30, 1997 and if the assets held pursuant to these activities do not equal 5% or more of the consolidated assets of the bank holding company.
We intend to apply to elect to become a financial holding company under the GLB Act as soon as practicable. Our ability to achieve and maintain financial holding company status is dependent on a number of factors, including our U.S. depository institution subsidiaries continuing to qualify as well capitalized as described under Prompt Corrective Action below. We do not believe that any activities that are material to our current or currently proposed business would be impermissible activities for us as a financial holding company.
As a bank holding company, Group Inc. is required to obtain prior Federal Reserve Board approval before directly or indirectly acquiring more than 5% of any class of voting shares of any unaffiliated depository institution. In addition, as a bank holding company, we may generally engage in banking and other financial activities abroad, including investing in and owning non-U.S. banks, if those activities and investments do not exceed certain limits and, in some cases, if we have obtained the prior approval of the Federal Reserve Board.
We are subject to regulatory capital requirements administered by the U.S. federal banking agencies. Our bank depository institution subsidiaries, including GS Bank USA, are subject to similar capital guidelines. Under the Federal Reserve Boards capital adequacy guidelines and the regulatory framework for prompt corrective action (PCA) that is applicable to GS Bank USA, Goldman Sachs and its bank depository institution subsidiaries must meet specific capital guidelines that involve quantitative measures of assets, liabilities and certain off-balance-sheet items as calculated under regulatory reporting practices. Goldman Sachs and its bank depository institution subsidiaries capital amounts, as well as GS Bank USAs PCA classification, are also subject to qualitative judgments by the regulators about components, risk weightings and other factors. We anticipate reporting capital ratios as follows:
Under the Basel II framework as it applied to us when we were regulated as a CSE, we evaluate our Tier 1 Capital and Total Allowable Capital as a percentage of Risk-Weighted Assets (RWAs). RWAs are calculated based on the level of market risk, credit risk and operational risk associated with our business activities, using methodologies generally consistent with those set out in Basel II. Our
Tier 1 Capital consists of common shareholders equity, qualifying preferred stock (including the cumulative preferred stock issued by Group Inc. to the U.S. Department of the Treasurys (U.S. Treasury) TARP Capital Purchase Program and our junior subordinated debt issued to trusts, less deductions for goodwill, disallowed intangible assets and other items. Our Total Allowable Capital consists of our Tier 1 Capital and our qualifying subordinated debt, less certain deductions. Additional information on the calculation of our Tier 1 Capital, Total Allowable Capital and RWAs under the Basel II framework as it applied to us as a CSE is set forth in Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations Equity Capital Consolidated Capital Requirements, and in Note 17 to the consolidated financial statements, which are in Part II, Items 7 and 8 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K. As of November 2008, our Total Capital Ratio (Total Allowable Capital as a percentage of RWAs) was 18.9% and our Tier 1 Ratio (Tier 1 Capital as a percentage of RWAs) was 15.6%, in each case calculated under the Basel II framework as it applied to us when we were regulated as a CSE.
As noted above, we are currently working to implement the Basel II framework as applicable to us as a bank holding company (as opposed to as a CSE). During a parallel period, we anticipate that Group Inc.s capital calculations computed under both the Basel I rules and the Basel II rules will be reported to the Federal Reserve Board for examination and compliance for at least four consecutive quarterly periods. Once the parallel period and subsequent three-year transition period are successfully completed, Group Inc. will utilize the Basel II framework as its means of capital adequacy assessment, measurement and reporting and will discontinue use of Basel I. Internationally, the Basel II framework was implemented in several countries during the second half of 2007 and in 2008, while others will begin implementation in 2009. The Basel II rules therefore also apply to certain of our operations in non-U.S. jurisdictions.
The Federal Reserve Board also has established minimum leverage ratio guidelines. We were not subject to these guidelines before becoming a bank holding company and, accordingly, we are currently working with the Federal Reserve Board to finalize our methodology for calculating this ratio. The Tier 1 leverage ratio is defined as Tier 1 capital (as applicable to us as a bank holding company) divided by adjusted average total assets (which includes adjustments for disallowed goodwill and certain intangible assets). The minimum Tier 1 leverage ratio is 3% for bank holding companies that have received the highest supervisory rating under Federal Reserve Board guidelines or that have implemented the Federal Reserve Boards risk-based capital measure for market risk. Other bank holding companies must have a minimum Tier 1 leverage ratio of 4%. Bank holding companies may be expected to maintain ratios well above the minimum levels, depending upon their particular condition, risk profile and growth plans. As of November 2008, our estimated Tier 1 leverage ratio was 6.1%. This ratio represents a preliminary estimate and may be revised in subsequent filings as we continue to work with the Federal Reserve Board to finalize the methodology for the calculation.
GS&Co. will continue to calculate its regulatory capital requirements in accordance with the market and credit risk standards of Appendix E of Rule 15c3-1 under the Exchange Act, which are consistent with Basel II.
Federal and state law imposes limitations on the payment of dividends by our bank depository institution subsidiaries. The amount of dividends that may be paid by a state-chartered bank that is a member of the Federal Reserve System, such as GS Bank USA or our national bank trust company subsidiary, is limited to the lesser of the amounts calculated under a recent earnings test and an undivided profits test. Under the recent earnings test, a dividend may not be paid if the total of all dividends declared by a bank in any calendar year is in excess of the current years net income combined with the retained net income of the two preceding years, unless the bank obtains the approval of its chartering authority. Under the undivided profits test, a dividend may not be paid in excess of a banks undivided profits. New York law imposes similar limitations on New York State-
chartered banks. As a result of these restrictions, GS Bank USA was not able to declare dividends to Group Inc. without regulatory approval as of November 2008.
In addition to the dividend restrictions described above, the banking regulators have authority to prohibit or to limit the payment of dividends by the banking organizations they supervise if, in the banking regulators opinion, payment of a dividend would constitute an unsafe or unsound practice in light of the financial condition of the banking organization.
It is also the policy of the Federal Reserve Board that a bank holding company generally only pay dividends on common stock out of net income available to common shareholders over the past year and only if the prospective rate of earnings retention appears consistent with the bank holding companys capital needs, asset quality, and overall financial condition. In the current financial and economic environment, the Federal Reserve Board has indicated that bank holding companies should carefully review their dividend policy and has discouraged dividend pay-out ratios that are at the 100% level unless both asset quality and capital are very strong. A bank holding company also should not maintain a dividend level that places undue pressure on the capital of bank depository institution subsidiaries, or that may undermine the bank holding companys ability to serve as a source of strength for such bank depository institution subsidiaries. See U.S. Treasurys TARP Capital Purchase Program below for a discussion of additional restrictions on Group Inc.s ability to pay dividends. In addition, certain of Group Inc.s nonbank subsidiaries are subject to separate regulatory limitations on dividends and distributions, including our broker-dealer and our insurance subsidiaries as described below.
Under Federal Reserve Board policy, Group Inc. is expected to act as a source of strength to GS Bank USA and to commit capital and financial resources to support this subsidiary. The required support may be needed at times when, absent that Federal Reserve Board policy, we may not find ourselves able to provide it. Capital loans by a bank holding company to any of its subsidiary banks are subordinate in right of payment to deposits and to certain other indebtedness of such subsidiary banks. In the event of a bank holding companys bankruptcy, any commitment by the bank holding company to a federal bank regulator to maintain the capital of a subsidiary bank will be assumed by the bankruptcy trustee and entitled to a priority of payment.
However, because the BHC Act provides for functional regulation of bank holding company activities by various regulators, the BHC Act prohibits the Federal Reserve Board from requiring payment by a holding company or subsidiary to a depository institution if the functional regulator of the payor objects to such payment. In such a case, the Federal Reserve Board could instead require the divestiture of the depository institution and impose operating restrictions pending the divestiture.
Each insured depository institution controlled (as defined in the BHC Act) by the same bank holding company can be held liable to the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for any loss incurred, or reasonably expected to be incurred, by the FDIC due to the default of any other insured depository institution controlled by that holding company and for any assistance provided by the FDIC to any of those banks that is in danger of default. Such a cross-guarantee claim against a depository institution is generally superior in right of payment to claims of the holding company and its affiliates against that depository institution. At this time, we control only one insured depository institution for this purpose, namely GS Bank USA. However, if, in the future, we were to control other insured depository institutions, such cross-guarantee would apply to all such insured depository institutions.
On October 28, 2008, Group Inc. issued preferred stock and a warrant to purchase its common stock to the U.S. Treasury as a participant in the TARP Capital Purchase Program. Prior to October 28, 2011, unless we have redeemed all of this preferred stock or the U.S. Treasury has transferred all of this preferred stock to a third party, the consent of the U.S. Treasury will be required for us to, among other things, increase our common stock dividend above the current quarterly cash dividend of $0.35 per share or repurchase our common stock or outstanding preferred stock except in limited circumstances. In addition, until the U.S. Treasury ceases to own any Group Inc. securities sold under the TARP Capital Purchase Program, the compensation arrangements for our senior executive officers must comply in all respects with the U.S. Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and the rules and regulations thereunder. See Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations Equity Capital Equity Capital Management in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for a further discussion of our participation in the U.S. Treasurys TARP Capital Purchase Program.
Group Inc. and GS Bank USA have chosen to participate in the FDICs Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP), which applies to, among others, all U.S. depository institutions insured by the FDIC and all U.S. bank holding companies, unless they have opted out of the TLGP or the FDIC has terminated their participation. Under the TLGP, the FDIC guarantees certain senior unsecured debt of Group Inc. and GS Bank USA, as well as noninterest-bearing transaction account deposits at GS Bank USA, and in return for these guarantees the FDIC is paid a fee based on the amount of the deposit or the amount and maturity of the debt. Under the debt guarantee component of the TLGP, the FDIC will pay the unpaid principal and interest on an FDIC-guaranteed debt instrument upon the uncured failure of the participating entity to make a timely payment of principal or interest in accordance with the terms of the instrument. Under the transaction account guarantee component of the TLGP, all noninterest-bearing transaction accounts maintained at GS Bank USA are insured in full by the FDIC until December 31, 2009, regardless of the standard maximum deposit insurance amount. See Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations Liquidity and Funding Risk Conservative Liability Structure in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for a further discussion of our participation in the TLGP.
Our U.S. depository institution subsidiary, GS Bank USA, a New York State-chartered bank and a member of the Federal Reserve System and the FDIC, is regulated by the Federal Reserve Board and the New York State Banking Department and is subject to minimum capital requirements that (subject to certain exceptions) are similar to those applicable to bank holding companies. GS Bank USA was formed in November 2008 through the merger of our existing Utah industrial bank (named GS Bank USA) into our New York limited purpose trust company, with the surviving company taking the name GS Bank USA. Concurrently with this merger, we contributed subsidiaries with an aggregate of $117.16 billion of assets into GS Bank USA (which brought total assets in GS Bank USA to $145.06 billion as of November 2008). As a result, a number of our businesses are now conducted partially or entirely through GS Bank USA, including: bank loan trading and origination; interest rate, credit, currency and other derivatives; leveraged finance; commercial and residential mortgage origination, trading and servicing; structured finance; and agency lending, custody and hedge fund administration services. The businesses conducted through GS Bank USA are now subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve Board, the New York State Banking Department and the FDIC.
GS Bank USA accepts deposits, and those deposits have the benefit of FDIC insurance up to the applicable limits. The FDICs Deposit Insurance Fund is funded by assessments on insured depository institutions, which depend on the risk category of an institution and the amount of insured deposits that it holds. The FDIC may increase or decrease the assessment rate schedule on a semi-annual basis. We are also participants in the TLGP as discussed above under FDIC Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program.
The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA), among other things, requires the federal banking agencies to take prompt corrective action in respect of depository institutions that do not meet specified capital requirements. FDICIA establishes five capital categories for FDIC-insured banks: well capitalized, adequately capitalized, undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized and critically undercapitalized. A depository institution is deemed to be well capitalized, the highest category, if it has a total capital ratio of 10% or greater, a Tier 1 capital ratio of 6% or greater and a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 5% or greater and is not subject to any order or written directive by any such regulatory authority to meet and maintain a specific capital level for any capital measure. In connection with the November 2008 asset transfer described below, GS Bank USA agreed with the Federal Reserve Board to minimum capital ratios in excess of these well capitalized levels. Accordingly, for a period of time, GS Bank USA is expected to maintain a Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 8%, a total capital ratio of at least 11% and a Tier 1 leverage ratio of at least 6%. We contributed subsidiaries with an aggregate of $117.16 billion in assets into GS Bank USA in November 2008 (which brought total assets in GS Bank USA to $145.06 billion as of November 2008). As a result, we are currently working with the Federal Reserve Board to finalize our methodology for the Basel I calculations. As of November 2008, under Basel I, GS Bank USAs estimated Tier 1 capital ratio was 8.9% and estimated total capital ratio was 11.6%. In addition, GS Bank USAs estimated Tier 1 leverage ratio was 9.1%. An institution may be downgraded to, or deemed to be in, a capital category that is lower than is indicated by its capital ratios if it is determined to be in an unsafe or unsound condition or if it receives an unsatisfactory examination rating with respect to certain matters.
FDICIA imposes progressively more restrictive constraints on operations, management and capital distributions, as the capital category of an institution declines. Failure to meet the capital guidelines could also subject a depository institution to capital raising requirements. Ultimately, critically undercapitalized institutions are subject to the appointment of a receiver or conservator.
The prompt corrective action regulations apply only to depository institutions and not to bank holding companies such as Group Inc. However, the Federal Reserve Board is authorized to take appropriate action at the holding company level, based upon the undercapitalized status of the holding companys depository institution subsidiaries. In certain instances relating to an undercapitalized depository institution subsidiary, the bank holding company would be required to guarantee the performance of the undercapitalized subsidiarys capital restoration plan and might be liable for civil money damages for failure to fulfill its commitments on that guarantee. Furthermore, in the event of the bankruptcy of the parent holding company, the guarantee would take priority over the parents general unsecured creditors.
If the FDIC is appointed the conservator or receiver of an insured depository institution such as GS Bank USA, upon its insolvency or in certain other events, the FDIC has the power:
In addition, under federal law, the claims of holders of deposit liabilities and certain claims for administrative expenses against an insured depository institution would be afforded a priority over other general unsecured claims against such an institution, including claims of debt holders of the institution, in the liquidation or other resolution of such an institution by any receiver. As a result, whether or not the FDIC ever sought to repudiate any debt obligations of GS Bank USA, the debt holders would be treated differently from, and could receive, if anything, substantially less than, the depositors of the depository institution.
Transactions between GS Bank USA and Group Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates are regulated by the Federal Reserve Board. These regulations limit the types and amounts of transactions (including loans to and credit extensions from GS Bank USA) that may take place and generally require those transactions to be on an arms-length basis. These regulations generally do not apply to transactions between GS Bank USA and its subsidiaries. In November 2008, Group Inc. transferred assets and operations to GS Bank USA as described above under GS Bank USA. In connection with this transfer, Group Inc. entered into a guarantee agreement with GS Bank USA whereby Group Inc. agreed to (i) purchase from GS Bank USA certain transferred assets (other than derivatives and mortgage servicing rights) or reimburse GS Bank USA for certain losses relating to those assets; (ii) reimburse GS Bank USA for credit-related losses from assets transferred to GS Bank USA; and (iii) protect GS Bank USA or reimburse it for certain losses arising from derivatives and mortgage servicing rights transferred to GS Bank USA. Group Inc. also agreed to pledge to GS Bank USA collateral with an aggregate value at any time not less than 5% of the face amount of committed but unfunded credit lines plus the original transfer value of the assets transferred to GS Bank USA, which amounted to a required collateral value of approximately $7.1 billion as of November 2008.
Group Inc.s two limited purpose trust company subsidiaries operate under state or federal law. They are not permitted to and do not accept deposits (other than as incidental to their trust activities) or make loans and, as a result, are not insured by the FDIC. The Goldman Sachs Trust Company, N.A., a national banking association that is limited to fiduciary activities, is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and is a member bank of the Federal Reserve System. The Goldman Sachs Trust Company of Delaware, a Delaware limited purpose trust company, is regulated by the Office of the Delaware State Bank Commissioner.
Goldman Sachs broker-dealer subsidiaries are subject to regulations that cover all aspects of the securities business, including sales methods, trade practices, use and safekeeping of clients funds and securities, capital structure, recordkeeping, the financing of clients purchases, and the conduct of directors, officers and employees.
In the United States, the SEC is the federal agency responsible for the administration of the federal securities laws. GS&Co. is registered as a broker-dealer and as an investment adviser with the SEC and as a broker-dealer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Self-regulatory organizations, such as FINRA and the NYSE, adopt rules that apply to, and examine, broker-dealers such as GS&Co. In addition, state securities and other regulators also have regulatory or oversight
authority over GS&Co. Similarly, our businesses are also subject to regulation by various non-U.S. governmental and regulatory bodies and self-regulatory authorities in virtually all countries where we have offices. Goldman Sachs Execution & Clearing, L.P. (GSEC) and two of its subsidiaries are registered U.S. broker-dealers and are regulated by the SEC, the NYSE and FINRA. Goldman Sachs Financial Markets, L.P. is registered with the SEC as an OTC derivatives dealer and conducts certain OTC derivatives businesses.
The commodity futures and commodity options industry in the United States is subject to regulation under the U.S. Commodity Exchange Act (CEA). The CFTC is the federal agency charged with the administration of the CEA. Several of Goldman Sachs subsidiaries, including GS&Co. and GSEC, are registered with the CFTC and act as futures commission merchants, commodity pool operators or commodity trading advisors and are subject to the CEA. The rules and regulations of various self-regulatory organizations, such as the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, other futures exchanges and the National Futures Association, also govern the commodity futures and commodity options businesses of these entities.
GS&Co. and GSEC are subject to Rule 15c3-1 of the SEC and Rule 1.17 of the CFTC, which specify uniform minimum net capital requirements and also effectively require that a significant part of the registrants assets be kept in relatively liquid form. GS&Co. and GSEC have elected to compute their minimum capital requirements in accordance with the Alternative Net Capital Requirement as permitted by Rule 15c3-1. As of November 2008, GS&Co. had regulatory net capital, as defined by Rule 15c3-1, of $10.92 billion, which exceeded the amounts required by $8.87 billion. As of November 2008, GSEC had regulatory net capital, as defined by Rule 15c3-1, of $1.38 billion, which exceeded the amounts required by $1.29 billion. In addition to its alternative minimum net capital requirements, GS&Co. is also required to hold tentative net capital in excess of $1 billion and net capital in excess of $500 million in accordance with the market and credit risk standards of Appendix E of Rule 15c3-1. GS&Co. is also required to notify the SEC in the event that its tentative net capital is less than $5 billion. As of November 2008, GS&Co. had tentative net capital and net capital in excess of both the minimum and the notification requirements. These net capital requirements may have the effect of prohibiting these entities from distributing or withdrawing capital and may require prior notice to the SEC for certain withdrawals of capital. See Note 17 to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our specialist businesses are subject to extensive regulation by a number of securities exchanges. As a Designated Market Maker on the NYSE and as a specialist on other exchanges, we are required to maintain orderly markets in the securities to which we are assigned. Under the NYSEs new Designated Market Maker rules, this may require us to supply liquidity to these markets in certain circumstances.
J. Aron & Company is authorized by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to sell wholesale physical power at market-based rates. As a FERC-authorized power marketer, J. Aron & Company is subject to regulation under the U.S. Federal Power Act and FERC regulations and to the oversight of FERC. As a result of our investing activities, GS&Co. is also an exempt holding company under the U.S. Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005 and applicable FERC rules.
In addition, as a result of our power-related activities, we are subject to extensive and evolving energy, environmental and other governmental laws and regulations, as discussed under Risk Factors Our power generation interests and related activities subject us to extensive regulation, as well as environmental and other risks associated with power generation activities in Part I, Item 1A of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our U.S. insurance subsidiaries are subject to state insurance regulation and oversight in the states in which they are domiciled and in the other states in which they are licensed, and we are subject to oversight as an insurance holding company in states where our insurance subsidiaries are
domiciled. State insurance regulations limit the ability of our insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends to Group Inc. in certain circumstances, and could require regulatory approval for any change in control of Group Inc., which may include control of 10% or more of our voting stock. In addition, a number of our other businesses, including our lending and mortgage businesses, require us to obtain licenses, adhere to applicable regulations and be subject to the oversight of various regulators in the states in which we conduct these businesses.
The U.S. Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (PATRIOT Act), contains anti-money laundering and financial transparency laws and mandated the implementation of various regulations applicable to all financial institutions, including standards for verifying client identification at account opening, and obligations to monitor client transactions and report suspicious activities. Through these and other provisions, the BSA and the PATRIOT Act seek to promote the identification of parties that may be involved in terrorism, money laundering or other suspicious activities. Anti-money laundering laws outside the United States contain some similar provisions. The obligation of financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, to identify their clients, to monitor for and report suspicious transactions, to respond to requests for information by regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies, and to share information with other financial institutions, has required the implementation and maintenance of internal practices, procedures and controls that have increased, and may continue to increase, our costs, and any failure with respect to our programs in this area could subject us to substantial liability and regulatory fines.
Goldman Sachs provides investment services in and from the United Kingdom under the regulation of the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Goldman Sachs International (GSI), our regulated U.K. broker-dealer, is subject to the capital requirements imposed by the FSA. As of November 2008, GSI was in compliance with the FSA capital requirements. Other subsidiaries, including Goldman Sachs International Bank, are also regulated by the FSA.
Goldman Sachs Bank (Europe) PLC (GS Bank Europe), our regulated Irish bank, is subject to minimum capital requirements imposed by the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority. As of November 2008, this bank was in compliance with all regulatory capital requirements. Group Inc. has issued a general guarantee of the obligations of this bank.
Various other Goldman Sachs entities are regulated by the banking, insurance and securities regulatory authorities of the European countries in which they operate, including, among others, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and the Bundesbank in Germany, Banque de France and the Autorité des Marchés Financiers in France, Banca dItalia and the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) in Italy, the Federal Financial Markets Service in Russia and the Swiss Federal Banking Commission. Certain Goldman Sachs entities are also regulated by the European securities, derivatives and commodities exchanges of which they are members.
The investment services that are subject to oversight by the FSA and other regulators within the European Union (EU) are regulated in accordance with national laws, many of which implement EU directives requiring, among other things, compliance with certain capital adequacy standards, customer protection requirements and market conduct and trade reporting rules. These standards, requirements and rules are similarly implemented, under the same directives, throughout the EU.
Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd. (GSJCL), our regulated Japanese broker-dealer, is subject to the capital requirements imposed by Japans Financial Services Agency. As of November 2008, GSJCL was in compliance with its capital adequacy requirements. GSJCL is also regulated by the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Osaka Securities Exchange, the Tokyo Financial Exchange, the Japan Securities Dealers Association, the Tokyo Commodity Exchange and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan.
Also in Asia, the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Korean Financial Supervisory Service, the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India, among others, regulate various of our subsidiaries and also have capital standards and other requirements comparable to the rules of the SEC.
Various Goldman Sachs entities are regulated by the banking and regulatory authorities in other non-U.S. countries in which Goldman Sachs operates, including, among others, Brazil and Dubai. In addition, certain of our insurance subsidiaries are regulated by Lloyds (which is, in turn, regulated by the FSA) and by the Bermuda Monetary Authority.
The U.S. and non-U.S. government agencies, regulatory bodies and self-regulatory organizations, as well as state securities commissions and other state regulators in the United States, are empowered to conduct administrative proceedings that can result in censure, fine, the issuance of cease and desist orders, or the suspension or expulsion of a broker-dealer or its directors, officers or employees. From time to time, our subsidiaries have been subject to investigations and proceedings, and sanctions have been imposed for infractions of various regulations relating to our activities, none of which has had a material adverse effect on us or our businesses.
The research areas of investment banks have been and remain the subject of regulatory scrutiny. The SEC and FINRA have rules governing research analysts, including rules imposing restrictions on the interaction between equity research analysts and investment banking personnel at member securities firms. Various non-U.S. jurisdictions have imposed both substantive and disclosure-based requirements with respect to research and may impose additional regulations. In 2003, GS&Co. agreed to a global settlement with certain federal and state securities regulators and self-regulatory organizations to resolve investigations into equity research analysts alleged conflicts of interest. The global settlement includes certain restrictions and undertakings that have imposed additional costs and limitations on the conduct of our businesses, including restrictions on the interaction between research and investment banking areas.
In connection with the research settlement, we have also subscribed to a voluntary initiative imposing restrictions on the allocation of shares in initial public offerings to executives and directors of public companies. The FSA in the United Kingdom has imposed requirements on the conduct of the allocation process in equity and fixed income securities offerings (including initial public offerings and secondary distributions). The SEC, the FSA, FINRA and other U.S. or non-U.S. regulators may in the future adopt additional and more stringent rules with respect to offering procedures and the management of conflicts of interest, and we cannot fully predict the effect that any new requirements will have on our business.
Our investment management businesses are subject to significant regulation in numerous jurisdictions around the world relating to, among other things, the safeguarding of client assets and our management of client funds.
As discussed above, many of our subsidiaries are subject to regulatory capital requirements in jurisdictions throughout the world. Subsidiaries not subject to separate regulation may hold capital to satisfy local tax guidelines, rating agency requirements or internal policies, including policies concerning the minimum amount of capital a subsidiary should hold based upon its underlying risk.
Certain of our businesses are subject to compliance with regulations enacted by U.S. federal and state governments, the European Union or other jurisdictions and/or enacted by various regulatory organizations or exchanges relating to the privacy of the information of clients, employees or others, and any failure to comply with these regulations could expose us to liability and/or reputational damage.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
We face a variety of risks that are substantial and inherent in our businesses, including market, liquidity, credit, operational, legal and regulatory risks. The following are some of the more important factors that could affect our businesses.
Our businesses have been and may continue to be adversely affected by conditions in the global financial markets and economic conditions generally.
Our businesses, by their nature, do not produce predictable earnings, and all of our businesses are materially affected by conditions in the global financial markets and economic conditions generally. In the past twelve months, these conditions have changed suddenly and negatively.
Since mid-2007, and particularly during the second half of 2008, the financial services industry and the securities markets generally were materially and adversely affected by significant declines in the values of nearly all asset classes and by a serious lack of liquidity. This was initially triggered by declines in the values of subprime mortgages, but spread to all mortgage and real estate asset classes, to leveraged bank loans and to nearly all asset classes, including equities. The global markets have been characterized by substantially increased volatility and short-selling and an overall loss of investor confidence, initially in financial institutions, but more recently in companies in a number of other industries and in the broader markets. The decline in asset values has caused increases in margin calls for investors, requirements that derivatives counterparties post additional collateral and redemptions by mutual and hedge fund investors, all of which have increased the downward pressure on asset values and outflows of client funds across the financial services industry. In addition, the increased redemptions and unavailability of credit have required hedge funds and others to rapidly reduce leverage, which has increased volatility and further contributed to the decline in asset values.
Market conditions have also led to the failure or merger of a number of prominent financial institutions. Financial institution failures or near-failures have resulted in further losses as a consequence of defaults on securities issued by them and defaults under bilateral derivatives and other contracts entered into with such entities as counterparties. Furthermore, declining asset values, defaults on mortgages and consumer loans, and the lack of market and investor confidence, as well as other factors, have all combined to increase credit default swap spreads, to cause rating agencies to lower credit ratings, and to otherwise increase the cost and decrease the availability of liquidity, despite very significant declines in central bank borrowing rates and other government actions. Banks and other lenders have suffered significant losses and have become reluctant to lend, even on a secured basis, due to the increased risk of default and the impact of declining asset values on the value of collateral. The markets for securitized debt offerings backed by mortgages, loans, credit card receivables and other assets have for the most part been closed.
In 2008, governments, regulators and central banks in the United States and worldwide have taken numerous steps to increase liquidity and to restore investor confidence, but asset values have continued to decline and access to liquidity continues to be very limited.
We have long proprietary positions in a number of our businesses. These positions are accounted for at fair value, and the declines in the values of assets have had a direct and large negative impact on our earnings in fiscal 2008. Revenues from our asset management and merchant banking businesses were also negatively impacted by declines in the values of assets managed for our clients.
The ongoing liquidity crisis and the loss of confidence in financial institutions has increased our cost of funding and limited our access to some of our traditional sources of liquidity, including both secured and unsecured borrowings. While the numerous steps taken by governments, regulators and central banks have helped reduce these funding costs somewhat and increase our access to traditional and new sources of liquidity, increases in funding costs and limitations on our access to liquidity have
negatively impacted our earnings and our ability to engage in certain activities. In particular, in the latter half of 2008, we were unable to raise significant amounts of long-term unsecured debt in the public markets, other than as a result of the issuance of securities guaranteed by the FDIC under the TLGP. We are able to have outstanding approximately $35 billion of debt under the TLGP that is issued prior to June 30, 2009. It is unclear when we will regain access to the public long-term unsecured debt markets on customary terms or whether any similar program will be available after the TLGPs scheduled June 2009 expiration. However, we continue to have access to short-term funding and to a number of sources of secured funding, both in the private markets and through various government and central bank sponsored initiatives. In December 2008, Moodys Investors Service downgraded our long-term debt credit rating and Standard & Poors downgraded both our long-term and short-term debt credit ratings, in each case with an outlook of negative.
We have been able to fund our operations during fiscal 2008. Our global core excess (our cash and cash equivalent positions maintained to ensure short-term liquidity) and our capital ratios are at levels significantly higher than in the past. Nevertheless, our credit spreads have widened and the average maturity of our new funding has decreased. Recently, we have relied to a significant extent for our long-term unsecured funding on emergency funding programs implemented by governments and central banks. It is unclear whether or for how long these facilities will be extended and what impact termination of these facilities could have on our ability to access funding. See Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations Liquidity and Funding Risk in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Furthermore, the increased riskiness of assets due to increases in the volatility of asset prices, coupled with market concerns about the levels of financial institution leverage ratios, as well as fewer attractive business opportunities, have caused us to significantly decrease the size of our balance sheet and to increase the size of our global core excess. Both of these steps may have a negative effect on our profitability, until reversed.
Concerns about financial institution profitability and solvency as a result of general market conditions, particularly in the credit markets, together with the forced merger or failure of a number of major commercial and investment banks, have at times caused a number of our clients to reduce the level of business that they do with us, either because of concerns about the safety of their assets held by us or simply arising from a desire to diversify their risk or for other reasons. Some clients have withdrawn some of the funds held at our firm or transferred them from deposits with GS Bank USA to other types of assets (in many cases leaving those assets in their brokerage accounts held with us). Some counterparties have at times refused to enter into certain derivatives and other long-term transactions with us or have requested additional collateral. These instances were more prevalent during periods when the lack of confidence in financial institutions was most widespread and have become significantly less frequent in recent months in the wake of government and central bank actions, greater understanding of client account protections and higher limits of FDIC insurance. In addition, we have acquired some new clients as a result of the difficulties experienced by other financial institutions.
During the fourth quarter of 2008, we raised $20.75 billion in equity, comprised of a $5.75 billion public common stock offering, a $5 billion preferred stock and warrant issuance to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and certain affiliates and a $10 billion preferred stock and warrant issuance under the U.S. Treasurys TARP Capital Purchase Program. While this additional capital provides further funding to our business and we believe has improved investor perceptions with regard to our financial position, it has increased our equity and the number of actual and diluted outstanding shares of our common stock as well as our preferred dividend requirements, which will reduce our earnings per share and the return on our equity unless our earnings increase sufficiently.
In addition, as of the end of 2008, the United States, Europe and Japan are all in a recession. Business activity across a wide range of industries and regions is greatly reduced and local governments and many companies are in serious difficulty due to the lack of consumer spending and
the lack of liquidity in the credit markets. Unemployment has increased significantly. While lower interest rates, increased volatility and substantial increases in trading volumes have positively impacted earnings in a number of our trading businesses, declines in asset values, the lack of liquidity, general uncertainty about economic and market activities and a lack of consumer, investor and CEO confidence have negatively impacted many of our other businesses, particularly our investment banking, merchant banking, asset management, credit products, mortgage, leveraged lending and equity principal strategies businesses. In particular, our investment banking business has been affected during the last twelve months by the decrease in equity and debt underwritings and the decline in both announced and completed mergers and acquisitions.
Our financial performance is highly dependent on the environment in which our businesses operate. A favorable business environment is generally characterized by, among other factors, high global gross domestic product growth, transparent, liquid and efficient capital markets, low inflation, high business and investor confidence, stable geopolitical conditions, and strong business earnings. Unfavorable or uncertain economic and market conditions can be caused by: declines in economic growth, business activity or investor or business confidence; limitations on the availability or increases in the cost of credit and capital; increases in inflation, interest rates, exchange rate volatility, default rates or the price of basic commodities; outbreaks of hostilities or other geopolitical instability; corporate, political or other scandals that reduce investor confidence in capital markets; natural disasters or pandemics; or a combination of these or other factors.
Overall, during fiscal 2008, the business environment has been extremely adverse for many of our businesses and there can be no assurance that these conditions will improve in the near term. Until they do, we expect our results of operations to be adversely affected.
Many of our businesses, such as our merchant banking businesses, our mortgages, leveraged loan and credit products businesses in our FICC segment, and our equity principal strategies business, have net long positions in debt securities, loans, derivatives, mortgages, equities (including private equity) and most other asset classes. In addition, many of our market-making and other businesses in which we act as a principal to facilitate our clients activities, including our specialist businesses, commit large amounts of capital to maintain trading positions in interest rate and credit products, as well as currencies, commodities and equities. Because nearly all of these investing and trading positions are marked-to-market on a daily basis, declines in asset values directly and immediately impact our earnings, unless we have effectively hedged our exposures to such declines. In certain circumstances (particularly in the case of leveraged loans and private equities or other securities that are not freely tradable or lack established and liquid trading markets), it may not be possible or economic to hedge such exposures and to the extent that we do so the hedge may be ineffective or may greatly reduce our ability to profit from increases in the values of the assets. Sudden declines and significant volatility in the prices of assets may substantially curtail or eliminate the trading markets for certain assets, which may make it very difficult to sell, hedge or value such assets. The inability to sell or effectively hedge assets reduces our ability to limit losses in such positions and the difficulty in valuing assets may increase our risk-weighted assets which requires us to maintain additional capital and increases our funding costs.
In our specialist businesses, we are obligated by stock exchange rules to maintain an orderly market, including by purchasing shares in a declining market. In markets where asset values are declining and in volatile markets, this results in trading losses and an increased need for liquidity.
We receive asset-based management fees based on the value of our clients portfolios or investment in funds managed by us and, in some cases, we also receive incentive fees based on increases in the value of such investments. Declines in asset values reduce the value of our clients portfolios or fund assets, which in turn reduce the fees we earn for managing such assets.
We post collateral to support our obligations and receive collateral to support the obligations of our clients and counterparties in connection with our trading businesses. When the value of the assets posted as collateral declines, the party posting the collateral may need to provide additional collateral or, if possible, reduce its trading position. A classic example of such a situation is a margin call in connection with a brokerage account. Therefore, declines in the value of asset classes used as collateral mean that either the cost of funding trading positions is increased or the size of trading positions is decreased. If we are the party providing collateral this can increase our costs and reduce our profitability and if we are the party receiving collateral this can also reduce our profitability by reducing the level of business done with our clients and counterparties. In addition, volatile or less liquid markets increase the difficulty of valuing assets which can lead to costly and time-consuming disputes over asset values and the level of required collateral, as well as increased credit risk to the recipient of the collateral due to delays in receiving adequate collateral.
Our businesses have been and may continue to be adversely affected by disruptions in the credit markets, including reduced access to credit and higher costs of obtaining credit.
Widening credit spreads, as well as significant declines in the availability of credit, have adversely affected our ability to borrow on a secured and unsecured basis and may continue to do so. We fund ourselves on an unsecured basis by issuing commercial paper, promissory notes and long-term debt, or by obtaining bank loans or lines of credit. We seek to finance many of our assets, including our less liquid assets, on a secured basis, including by entering into repurchase agreements. Disruptions in the credit markets make it harder and more expensive to obtain funding for our businesses. If our available funding is limited or we are forced to fund our operations at a higher cost, these conditions may require us to curtail our business activities and increase our cost of funding, both of which could reduce our profitability, particularly in our businesses that involve investing, lending and taking principal positions, including market making.
Our clients engaging in mergers and acquisitions often rely on access to the secured and unsecured credit markets to finance their transactions. The lack of available credit and the increased cost of credit can adversely affect the size, volume and timing of our clients merger and acquisition transactions particularly large transactions and adversely affect our financial advisory and underwriting businesses.
In addition, we may incur significant unrealized gains or losses due solely to changes in our credit spreads or those of third parties, as these changes may affect the fair value of our derivative instruments and the debt securities that we hold or issue.
Our businesses have been and may continue to be affected by changes in the levels of market volatility.
Certain of our trading businesses depend on market volatility to provide trading and arbitrage opportunities, and decreases in volatility may reduce these opportunities and adversely affect the results of these businesses. On the other hand, increased volatility, while it can increase trading volumes and spreads, also increases risk as measured by VaR and may expose us to increased risks in connection with our market-making and proprietary businesses or cause us to reduce the size of these businesses in order to avoid increasing our VaR. Limiting the size of our market-making positions and investing businesses can adversely affect our profitability, even though spreads are widening and we may earn more on each trade. In periods when volatility is increasing, but asset values are declining significantly (as has been the case recently), it may not be possible to sell assets at all or it may only be possible to do so at steep discounts. In such circumstances we may be forced to either take on additional risk or to incur losses in order to decrease our VaR. In addition, increases in volatility increase the level of our risk weighted assets and increase our capital requirements which increases our funding costs.
Our businesses have been adversely affected and may continue to be adversely affected by market uncertainty or lack of confidence among investors and CEOs due to general declines in economic activity and other unfavorable economic, geopolitical or market conditions.
Our investment banking business has been and may continue to be adversely affected by market conditions. Poor economic conditions and other adverse geopolitical conditions can adversely affect and have adversely affected investor and CEO confidence, resulting in significant industry-wide declines in the size and number of underwritings and of financial advisory transactions, which could continue to have an adverse effect on our revenues and our profit margins. In particular, because a significant portion of our investment banking revenues are derived from our participation in large transactions, a decline in the number of large transactions would adversely affect our investment banking business.
In certain circumstances, market uncertainty or general declines in market or economic activity may affect our trading businesses by decreasing levels of overall activity or by decreasing volatility, but at other times market uncertainty and even declining economic activity may result in higher trading volumes or higher spreads or both.
Market uncertainty, volatility and adverse economic conditions, as well as declines in asset values, may cause our clients to transfer their assets out of our funds or other products or their brokerage accounts and result in reduced net revenues, principally in our asset management business. To the extent that clients do not withdraw their funds, they may invest them in products that generate less fee income.
Our investing businesses may be affected by the poor investment performance of our investment products.
Poor investment returns in our asset management business, due to either general market conditions or underperformance (against the performance of benchmarks or of our competitors) by funds or accounts that we manage or investment products that we design or sell, affects our ability to retain existing assets and to attract new clients or additional assets from existing clients. This could affect the asset management and incentive fees that we earn on assets under management or the commissions that we earn for selling other investment products, such as structured notes or derivatives.
We have in the past provided financial support to certain of our investment products in difficult market circumstances and, at our discretion, we may decide to do so in the future for reputational or business reasons, including through equity investments or cash infusions.
We seek to monitor and control our risk exposure through a risk and control framework encompassing a variety of separate but complementary financial, credit, operational, compliance and legal reporting systems, internal controls, management review processes and other mechanisms. Our trading risk management process seeks to balance our ability to profit from trading positions with our exposure to potential losses. While we employ a broad and diversified set of risk monitoring and risk mitigation techniques, those techniques and the judgments that accompany their application cannot anticipate every economic and financial outcome or the specifics and timing of such outcomes. Thus, we may, in the course of our activities, incur losses. Recent market conditions have involved unprecedented dislocations and highlight the limitations inherent in using historical data to manage risk.
The models that we use to assess and control our risk exposures reflect assumptions about the degrees of correlation or lack thereof among prices of various asset classes or other market indicators. In times of market stress or other unforeseen circumstances, such as occurred during 2008, previously uncorrelated indicators may become correlated, or conversely previously correlated indicators may move in different directions. These types of market movements have at times limited the effectiveness of our hedging strategies and have caused us to incur significant losses, and they
may do so in the future. These changes in correlation can be exacerbated where other market participants are using risk or trading models with assumptions or algorithms that are similar to ours. In these and other cases, it may be difficult to reduce our risk positions due to the activity of other market participants or widespread market dislocations, including circumstances where asset values are declining significantly or no market exists for certain assets. To the extent that we make investments directly through various of our businesses in securities, including private equity, that do not have an established liquid trading market or are otherwise subject to restrictions on sale or hedging, we may not be able to reduce our positions and therefore reduce our risk associated with such positions. In addition, we invest our own capital in our merchant banking, alternative investment and infrastructure funds, and limitations on our ability to withdraw some or all of our investments in these funds, whether for legal, reputational or other reasons, may make it more difficult for us to control the risk exposures relating to these investments.
For a further discussion of our risk management policies and procedures, see Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations Risk Management in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our liquidity, profitability and businesses may be adversely affected by an inability to access the debt capital markets or to sell assets or by a reduction in our credit ratings or by an increase in our credit spreads.
Liquidity is essential to our businesses. Our liquidity may be impaired by an inability to access secured and/or unsecured debt markets, an inability to access funds from our subsidiaries, an inability to sell assets or redeem our investments, or unforeseen outflows of cash or collateral. This situation may arise due to circumstances that we may be unable to control, such as a general market disruption or an operational problem that affects third parties or us, or even by the perception among market participants that we, or other market participants, are experiencing greater liquidity risk.
The financial instruments that we hold and the contracts to which we are a party are increasingly complex, as we employ structured products to benefit our clients and ourselves, and these complex structured products often do not have readily available markets to access in times of liquidity stress. Our investing activities may lead to situations where the holdings from these activities represent a significant portion of specific markets, which could restrict liquidity for our positions. Further, our ability to sell assets may be impaired if other market participants are seeking to sell similar assets at the same time, as is likely to occur in a liquidity or other market crisis. In addition, financial institutions with which we interact may exercise set-off rights or the right to require additional collateral, including in difficult market conditions, which could further impair our access to liquidity.
Our credit ratings are important to our liquidity. A reduction in our credit ratings could adversely affect our liquidity and competitive position, increase our borrowing costs, limit our access to the capital markets or trigger our obligations under certain bilateral provisions in some of our trading and collateralized financing contracts. Under these provisions, counterparties could be permitted to terminate contracts with Goldman Sachs or require us to post additional collateral. Termination of our trading and collateralized financing contracts could cause us to sustain losses and impair our liquidity by requiring us to find other sources of financing or to make significant cash payments or securities movements.
Our cost of obtaining long-term unsecured funding is directly related to our credit spreads (the amount in excess of the interest rate of U.S. Treasury securities (or other benchmark securities) of the same maturity that we need to pay to our debt investors). Increases in our credit spreads can significantly increase our cost of this funding. Changes in credit spreads are continuous, market-driven, and subject at times to unpredictable and highly volatile movements. Credit spreads are influenced by market perceptions of our creditworthiness. In addition, our credit spreads may be influenced by movements in the costs to purchasers of credit default swaps referenced to our
long-term debt. The market for credit default swaps is relatively new, although very large, and it has proven to be extremely volatile and currently lacks a high degree of structure or transparency.
Group Inc. is a holding company and is dependent for liquidity on payments from its subsidiaries, which are subject to restrictions.
Group Inc. is a holding company and, therefore, depends on dividends, distributions and other payments from its subsidiaries to fund dividend payments and to fund all payments on its obligations, including debt obligations. Many of our subsidiaries, including our broker-dealer, bank and insurance subsidiaries, are subject to laws that restrict dividend payments or authorize regulatory bodies to block or reduce the flow of funds from those subsidiaries to Group Inc. Restrictions or regulatory action of that kind could impede access to funds that Group Inc. needs to make payments on its obligations, including debt obligations, or dividend payments. In addition, Group Inc.s right to participate in a distribution of assets upon a subsidiarys liquidation or reorganization is subject to the prior claims of the subsidiarys creditors.
Furthermore, Group Inc. has guaranteed the payment obligations of GS&Co., GS Bank USA and GS Bank Europe, subject to certain exceptions, and has pledged significant assets to GS Bank USA to support obligations to GS Bank USA. These guarantees may require Group Inc. to provide substantial funds or assets to its subsidiaries or their creditors and counterparties at a time when Group Inc. is in need of liquidity to fund its own obligations. See Business Regulation in Part I, Item 1 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our businesses, profitability and liquidity may be adversely affected by deterioration in the credit quality of, or defaults by, third parties who owe us money, securities or other assets or whose securities or obligations we hold.
The amount and duration of our credit exposures have been increasing over the past several years, as have the breadth and size of the entities to which we have credit exposures. We are exposed to the risk that third parties that owe us money, securities or other assets will not perform their obligations. These parties may default on their obligations to us due to bankruptcy, lack of liquidity, operational failure or other reasons. A failure of a significant market participant, or even concerns about a default by such an institution, could lead to significant liquidity problems, losses or defaults by other institutions, which in turn could adversely affect us.
We are also subject to the risk that our rights against third parties may not be enforceable in all circumstances. In addition, deterioration in the credit quality of third parties whose securities or obligations we hold could result in losses and/or adversely affect our ability to rehypothecate or otherwise use those securities or obligations for liquidity purposes. A significant downgrade in the credit ratings of our counterparties could also have a negative impact on our results. While in many cases we are permitted to require additional collateral from counterparties that experience financial difficulty, disputes may arise as to the amount of collateral we are entitled to receive and the value of pledged assets. The termination of contracts and the foreclosure on collateral may subject us to claims for the improper exercise of our rights. Default rates, downgrades and disputes with counterparties as to the valuation of collateral increase significantly in times of market stress and illiquidity.
As part of our clearing business, we finance our client positions, and we could be held responsible for the defaults or misconduct of our clients. Although we regularly review credit exposures to specific clients and counterparties and to specific industries, countries and regions that we believe may present credit concerns, default risk may arise from events or circumstances that are difficult to detect or foresee.
Concentration of risk increases the potential for significant losses in our market-making, proprietary trading, investing, block trading, merchant banking, underwriting and lending businesses. This risk may increase to the extent we expand our proprietary trading and investing businesses or commit capital to facilitate client-driven business. The number and size of such transactions may affect our results of operations in a given period. Moreover, because of concentration of risk, we may suffer losses even when economic and market conditions are generally favorable for our competitors. Disruptions in the credit markets can make it difficult to hedge these credit exposures effectively or economically. In addition, we extend large commitments as part of our credit origination activities. Our inability to reduce our credit risk by selling, syndicating or securitizing these positions, including during periods of market stress, could negatively affect our results of operations due to a decrease in the fair value of the positions, including due to the insolvency or bankruptcy of the borrower, as well as the loss of revenues associated with selling such securities or loans.
In the ordinary course of business, we may be subject to a concentration of credit risk to a particular counterparty, borrower or issuer, and a failure or downgrade of, or default by, such entity could negatively impact our businesses, perhaps materially, and the systems by which we set limits and monitor the level of our credit exposure to individual entities, industries and countries may not function as we have anticipated. While our activities expose us to many different industries and counterparties, we routinely execute a high volume of transactions with counterparties in the financial services industry, including brokers and dealers, commercial banks, and investment funds. This has resulted in significant credit concentration with respect to this industry.
The financial services industry and all of our businesses are intensely competitive, and we expect them to remain so. We compete on the basis of a number of factors, including transaction execution, our products and services, innovation, reputation, creditworthiness and price. Over time, there has been substantial consolidation and convergence among companies in the financial services industry. This trend accelerated over the course of the past year as a result of numerous mergers and asset acquisitions among industry participants. This trend has also hastened the globalization of the securities and other financial services markets. As a result, we have had to commit capital to support our international operations and to execute large global transactions. To the extent we expand into new business areas and new geographic regions, we will face competitors with more experience and more established relationships with clients, regulators and industry participants in the relevant market, which could adversely affect our ability to expand.
Pricing and other competitive pressures in our investment banking business, as well as our other businesses, have continued to increase, particularly in situations where some of our competitors may seek to increase market share by reducing prices. For example, in connection with investment banking and other assignments, we have experienced pressure to extend and price credit at levels that may not always fully compensate us for the risks we take.
We face enhanced risks as new business initiatives lead us to transact with a broader array of clients and counterparties and expose us to new asset classes and new markets.
A number of our recent and planned business initiatives and expansions of existing businesses may bring us into contact, directly or indirectly, with individuals and entities that are not within our traditional client and counterparty base and expose us to new asset classes and new markets. These business activities expose us to new and enhanced risks, including risks associated with dealing with governmental entities, reputational concerns arising from dealing with less sophisticated counterparties and investors, greater regulatory scrutiny of these activities, increased credit-related, sovereign and operational risks, risks arising from accidents or acts of terrorism, and reputational concerns with the manner in which these assets are being operated or held.
We are party to a large number of derivative transactions, including credit derivatives. Many of these derivative instruments are individually negotiated and non-standardized, which can make exiting, transferring or settling the position difficult. Many credit derivatives require that we deliver to the counterparty the underlying security, loan or other obligation in order to receive payment. In a number of cases, we do not hold the underlying security, loan or other obligation and may not be able to obtain, the underlying security, loan or other obligation. This could cause us to forfeit the payments due to us under these contracts or result in settlement delays with the attendant credit and operational risk as well as increased costs to the firm.
Derivative contracts and other transactions entered into with third parties are not always confirmed by the counterparties on a timely basis. While the transaction remains unconfirmed, we are subject to heightened credit and operational risk and in the event of a default may find it more difficult to enforce the contract. In addition, as new and more complex derivative products are created, covering a wider array of underlying credit and other instruments, disputes about the terms of the underlying contracts could arise, which could impair our ability to effectively manage our risk exposures from these products and subject us to increased costs. Any regulatory effort to create an exchange or trading platform for credit derivatives and other OTC derivative contracts, or a market shift toward standardized derivatives, could reduce the risk associated with such transactions, but under certain circumstances could also limit our ability to develop derivatives that best suit the needs of our clients and ourselves and adversely affect our profitability.
A failure in our operational systems or infrastructure, or those of third parties, could impair our liquidity, disrupt our businesses, result in the disclosure of confidential information, damage our reputation and cause losses.
Our businesses are highly dependent on our ability to process and monitor, on a daily basis, a very large number of transactions, many of which are highly complex, across numerous and diverse markets in many currencies. These transactions, as well as the information technology services we provide to clients, often must adhere to client-specific guidelines, as well as legal and regulatory standards. As our client base and our geographical reach expands, developing and maintaining our operational systems and infrastructure becomes increasingly challenging. Our financial, accounting, data processing or other operating systems and facilities may fail to operate properly or become disabled as a result of events that are wholly or partially beyond our control, such as a spike in transaction volume, adversely affecting our ability to process these transactions or provide these services. In addition, we also face the risk of operational failure, termination or capacity constraints of any of the clearing agents, exchanges, clearing houses or other financial intermediaries we use to facilitate our securities transactions, and as our interconnectivity with our clients grows, we increasingly face the risk of operational failure with respect to our clients systems. In recent years, there has been significant consolidation among clearing agents, exchanges and clearing houses, which has increased our exposure to operational failure, termination or capacity constraints of the particular financial intermediaries that we use and could affect our ability to find adequate and cost-effective alternatives in the event of any such failure, termination or constraint. Industry consolidation, whether among market participants or financial intermediaries, increases the risk of operational failure as disparate complex systems need to be integrated, often on an accelerated basis. Furthermore, the interconnectivity of multiple financial institutions with central agents, exchanges and clearing houses increases the risk that an operational failure at one institution may cause an industry-wide operational failure that could materially impact our ability to conduct business. Any such failure, termination or constraint could adversely affect our ability to effect transactions, service our clients, manage our exposure to risk or expand our businesses or result in financial loss or liability to our clients, impairment of our liquidity, disruption of our businesses, regulatory intervention or reputational damage.
Despite the resiliency plans and facilities we have in place, our ability to conduct business may be adversely impacted by a disruption in the infrastructure that supports our businesses and the communities in which we are located. This may include a disruption involving electrical, communications, internet, transportation or other services used by us or third parties with which we conduct business. These disruptions may occur as a result of events that affect only our buildings or the buildings of such third parties, or as a result of events with a broader impact globally, regionally or in the cities where those buildings are located. Nearly all of our employees in our primary locations, including the New York metropolitan area, London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Bangalore, work in close proximity to one another, in one or more buildings. Notwithstanding our efforts to maintain business continuity, given that our headquarters and the largest concentration of our employees are in the New York metropolitan area, depending on the intensity and longevity of the event, a catastrophic event impacting our New York metropolitan area offices could very negatively affect our business. If a disruption occurs in one location and our employees in that location are unable to occupy our offices or communicate with or travel to other locations, our ability to service and interact with our clients may suffer, and we may not be able to successfully implement contingency plans that depend on communication or travel.
Our operations rely on the secure processing, storage and transmission of confidential and other information in our computer systems and networks. Although we take protective measures and endeavor to modify them as circumstances warrant, our computer systems, software and networks may be vulnerable to unauthorized access, computer viruses or other malicious code and other events that could have a security impact. If one or more of such events occur, this potentially could jeopardize our or our clients or counterparties confidential and other information processed and stored in, and transmitted through, our computer systems and networks, or otherwise cause interruptions or malfunctions in our, our clients, our counterparties or third parties operations, which could result in significant losses or reputational damage. We may be required to expend significant additional resources to modify our protective measures or to investigate and remediate vulnerabilities or other exposures, and we may be subject to litigation and financial losses that are either not insured against or not fully covered through any insurance maintained by us.
We routinely transmit and receive personal, confidential and proprietary information by email and other electronic means. We have discussed and worked with clients, vendors, service providers, counterparties and other third parties to develop secure transmission capabilities, but we do not have, and may be unable to put in place, secure capabilities with all of our clients, vendors, service providers, counterparties and other third parties and we may not be able to ensure that these third parties have appropriate controls in place to protect the confidentiality of the information. An interception, misuse or mishandling of personal, confidential or proprietary information being sent to or received from a client, vendor, service provider, counterparty or other third party could result in legal liability, regulatory action and reputational harm.
Conflicts of interest are increasing and a failure to appropriately identify and deal with conflicts of interest could adversely affect our businesses.
As we have expanded the scope of our businesses and our client base, we increasingly must address potential conflicts of interest, including situations where our services to a particular client or our own investments or other interests conflict, or are perceived to conflict, with the interests of another client, as well as situations where one or more of our businesses have access to material non-public information that may not be shared with other businesses within the firm and situations where we may be a creditor of an entity with which we also have an advisory or other relationship.
Our regulators have the ability to scrutinize our activities for potential conflicts of interest, including through detailed examinations of specific transactions. Our status as a bank holding company subjects us to heightened regulation and increased regulatory scrutiny by the Federal Reserve Board with respect to transactions between GS Bank USA and entities that are or could be seen as affiliates of ours.
We have extensive procedures and controls that are designed to identify and address conflicts of interest, including those designed to prevent the improper sharing of information among our businesses. However, appropriately identifying and dealing with conflicts of interest is complex and difficult, and our reputation, which is one of our most important assets, could be damaged and the willingness of clients to enter into transactions in which such a conflict might arise may be affected if we fail, or appear to fail, to identify and deal appropriately with conflicts of interest. In addition, potential or perceived conflicts could give rise to litigation or enforcement actions.
Our businesses and those of our clients are subject to extensive and pervasive regulation around the world.
As a participant in the financial services industry, we are subject to extensive regulation in jurisdictions around the world. We face the risk of significant intervention by regulatory authorities in all jurisdictions in which we conduct our businesses. Among other things, we could be fined, prohibited from engaging in some of our business activities or subject to limitations or conditions on our business activities.
In recent years, firms in the financial services industry have been operating in a difficult regulatory environment. The industry has experienced increased scrutiny from a variety of regulators, both within and outside the United States. Penalties and fines sought by regulatory authorities have increased substantially over the last several years, and certain regulators have been more likely in recent years to commence enforcement actions.
In addition, new laws or regulations or changes in enforcement of existing laws or regulations applicable to our businesses or those of our clients may adversely affect our businesses. Recent market disruptions have led to numerous proposals for changes in the regulation of the financial services industry, including significant additional regulation. Regulatory changes could lead to business disruptions, could impact the value of assets that we hold or the scope or profitability of our business activities, could require us to change certain of our business practices and could expose us to additional costs (including compliance costs) and liabilities as well as reputational harm, and, to the extent the regulations strictly control the activities of financial services firms, make it more difficult for us to distinguish ourselves from competitors. For a discussion of the extensive regulation to which our businesses are subject, see Business Regulation in Part I, Item 1 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our status as a bank holding company and the operation of our lending and other businesses through GS Bank USA subject us to additional regulation and limitations on our activities, as described in Business Regulation Banking Regulation in Part I, Item 1 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as some regulatory uncertainty as we apply banking regulations and practices to many of our businesses. The application of these regulations and practices may present us and our regulators with new or novel issues.
Our firm is subject to regulatory capital requirements at a number of levels, as described above under Business Regulation in Part I, Item 1 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K. As a bank holding company, we will be subject to capital requirements based on Basel I as opposed to the requirements based on Basel II that applied to us as a CSE. Complying with these requirements may require us to liquidate assets or raise capital in a manner that adversely increases our funding costs or otherwise adversely affects our shareholders and creditors. In addition, failure to meet minimum capital requirements can initiate certain mandatory and possibly additional discretionary actions by regulators that, if undertaken, could have a direct material adverse effect on our financial condition.
Our agreements with the U.S. Treasury and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. impose restrictions and obligations on us that limit our ability to increase dividends, repurchase our common stock or preferred stock and access the equity capital markets.
In October 2008, we issued preferred stock and a warrant to purchase our common stock to the U.S. Treasury as part of its TARP Capital Purchase Program. Prior to October 28, 2011, unless we have redeemed all of the preferred stock or the U.S. Treasury has transferred all of the preferred stock to a third party, the consent of the U.S. Treasury will be required for us to, among other things,
increase our common stock dividend or repurchase our common stock or other preferred stock (with certain exceptions, including the repurchase of our common stock to offset share dilution from equity-based employee compensation awards). We have also granted registration rights and offering facilitation rights to the U.S. Treasury and to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. pursuant to which we have agreed to lock-up periods during which we would be unable to issue equity securities.
Substantial legal liability or significant regulatory action against us could have material adverse financial effects or cause us significant reputational harm, which in turn could seriously harm our business prospects.
We face significant legal risks in our businesses, and the volume of claims and amount of damages and penalties claimed in litigation and regulatory proceedings against financial institutions remain high. See Legal Proceedings in Part I, Item 3 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of certain legal proceedings in which we are involved. Our experience has been that legal claims by customers and clients increase in a market downturn. In addition, employment-related claims typically increase in periods when we have reduced the total number of employees.
There have been a number of highly publicized cases involving fraud or other misconduct by employees in the financial services industry in recent years, and we run the risk that employee misconduct could occur. It is not always possible to deter or prevent employee misconduct and the precautions we take to prevent and detect this activity may not be effective in all cases.
The growth of electronic trading and the introduction of new technology may adversely affect our business and may increase competition.
Technology is fundamental to our business and our industry. The growth of electronic trading and the introduction of new technologies is changing our businesses and presenting us with new challenges. Securities, futures and options transactions are increasingly occurring electronically, both on our own systems and through other alternative trading systems, and it appears that the trend toward alternative trading systems will continue and probably accelerate. Some of these alternative trading systems compete with our trading businesses, including our specialist businesses, and we may experience continued competitive pressures in these and other areas. In addition, the increased use by our clients of low-cost electronic trading systems and direct electronic access to trading markets could cause a reduction in commissions and spreads. As our clients increasingly use our systems to trade directly in the markets, we may incur liabilities as a result of their use of our order routing and execution infrastructure. The NYSEs adoption and continued refinement of its hybrid market for trading securities may increase pressure on our Equities business as clients execute more of their NYSE-related trades electronically. We have invested significant resources into the development of electronic trading systems and expect to continue to do so, but there is no assurance that the revenues generated by these systems will yield an adequate return on our investment, particularly given the relatively lower commissions arising from electronic trades.
Our performance is largely dependent on the talents and efforts of highly skilled individuals; therefore, our continued ability to compete effectively in our businesses, to manage our businesses effectively and to expand into new businesses and geographic areas depends on our ability to attract new employees and to retain and motivate our existing employees. Competition from within the financial services industry and from businesses outside the financial services industry for qualified employees has often been intense. This is particularly the case in emerging markets, where we are often competing for qualified employees with entities that have a significantly greater presence or more extensive experience in the region.
In fiscal 2008, we significantly reduced compensation levels. In addition, the market price of our shares of our common stock declined very significantly during the year. A substantial portion of our annual bonus compensation paid to our senior employees has in recent years been paid in the form of equity-based awards. In addition, we reduced the number of employees across nearly all of our businesses during the latter portion of the year. The combination of these events could adversely affect our ability to hire and retain qualified employees.
Our power generation interests and related activities subject us to extensive regulation, as well as environmental and other risks associated with power generation activities.
The power generation facilities that we own and those that we operate, as well as our other power-related activities, are subject to extensive and evolving federal, state and local energy, environmental and other governmental laws and regulations, including environmental laws and regulations relating to, among others, air quality, water quality, waste management, natural resources, site remediation and health and safety.
We may incur substantial costs (including being required to cease or curtail operations of one or more of our power generation facilities) in complying with current or future laws and regulations relating to electric power generation and wholesale sales and trading of electricity and natural gas, including having to commit significant capital toward environmental monitoring, installation of pollution control equipment, payment of emission fees and carbon or other taxes, and application for, and holding of, permits and licenses at our power generation facilities. Our power generation facilities are also subject to the risk of unforeseen or catastrophic events, many of which are outside of our control, including breakdown or failure of power generation equipment, transmission lines or other equipment or processes or other mechanical malfunctions, performance below expected levels of output or efficiency, terrorist attacks, natural disasters or other hostile or catastrophic events. In addition, these facilities could be adversely affected by the failure of any of our third party suppliers or service providers to perform their contractual obligations, including the failure to obtain raw materials necessary for operation at reasonable prices. Market conditions or other factors could cause a failure to satisfy or obtain waivers under agreements with third parties, including lenders and utilities, which impose significant obligations on our subsidiaries that own such facilities. In addition, we may not have insurance against the risks that such facilities face or the insurance that we have may be inadequate to cover our losses.
The occurrence of any of such events may prevent the affected facilities from performing under applicable power sales agreements, may impair their operations or financial results and may result in litigation or other reputational harm.
In conducting our businesses around the world, we are subject to political, economic, legal, operational and other risks that are inherent in operating in many countries.
In conducting our businesses and maintaining and supporting our global operations, we are subject to risks of possible nationalization, expropriation, price controls, capital controls, exchange controls and other restrictive governmental actions, as well the outbreak of hostilities or acts of terrorism. In many countries, the laws and regulations applicable to the securities and financial services industries and many of the transactions in which we are involved are uncertain and evolving, and it may be difficult for us to determine the exact requirements of local laws in every market. Any determination by local regulators that we have not acted in compliance with the application of local laws in a particular market or our failure to develop effective working relationships with local regulators could have a significant and negative effect not only on our businesses in that market but also on our reputation generally. We are also subject to the enhanced risk that transactions we structure might not be legally enforceable in all cases.
Our businesses and operations are increasingly expanding into new regions throughout the world, including emerging markets, and we expect this trend to continue. Various emerging market
countries have experienced severe economic and financial disruptions, including significant devaluations of their currencies, defaults or threatened defaults on sovereign debt, capital and currency exchange controls, and low or negative growth rates in their economies, as well as military activity or acts of terrorism. The possible effects of any of these conditions include an adverse impact on our businesses and increased volatility in financial markets generally.
We may incur losses as a result of unforeseen or catastrophic events, including the emergence of a pandemic, terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
The occurrence of unforeseen or catastrophic events, including the emergence of a pandemic or other widespread health emergency (or concerns over the possibility of such an emergency), terrorist attacks or natural disasters, could create economic and financial disruptions, could lead to operational difficulties (including travel limitations) that could impair our ability to manage our businesses, and could expose our insurance subsidiaries to significant losses.
There are no material unresolved written comments that were received from the SEC staff 180 days or more before the end of our fiscal year relating to our periodic or current reports under the Exchange Act.
Our principal executive offices are located at 85 Broad Street, New York, New York, and comprise approximately one million rentable square feet of leased space, pursuant to a lease agreement expiring in June 2011. We also occupy over 680,000 rentable square feet at One New York Plaza under lease agreements expiring primarily in 2010 (with options to renew for up to five additional years), and we lease space at various other locations in the New York metropolitan area. In total, we lease approximately 3.7 million rentable square feet in the New York metropolitan area.
In August 2005, we leased from Battery Park City Authority a parcel of land in lower Manhattan, pursuant to a ground lease. We are currently constructing a 2.1 million gross square foot office building on the site that will serve as our headquarters. Under the lease, Battery Park City Authority holds title to all improvements, including the office building, subject to Goldman Sachs right of exclusive possession and use until June 2069, the expiration date of the lease.
Under the terms of the ground lease, we made a lump-sum ground rent payment in June 2007 of $161 million, which was paid into escrow, to be released to the Battery Park City Authority pending performance of specified state and city obligations. We are required to make additional periodic payments during the term of the lease. We are obligated under the ground lease to construct the office building by 2011 (subject to extensions in the case of force majeure) in accordance with certain pre-approved design standards. Construction began on the building in November 2005, and we expect construction completion and initial occupancy of the building during 2009. The building is projected to cost between $2.1 billion and $2.3 billion, including acquisition, development, fitout and furnishings, financing and other related costs.
We are receiving significant benefits from the City and State of New York based on our agreement to construct our headquarters in lower Manhattan. These benefits are subject to recoupment or recapture if we do not satisfy our obligations under these agreements with the City and State of New York.
We have offices at 30 Hudson Street in Jersey City, New Jersey, which we own and which include approximately 1.6 million gross square feet of office space, and we own over 575,000 square feet of additional office space spread among four locations in New York and New Jersey. We have additional offices in the U.S. and elsewhere in the Americas, which together comprise approximately 2.9 million rentable square feet of leased space.
In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, we have offices that total approximately 2.2 million rentable square feet. Our European headquarters is located in London at Peterborough Court, pursuant to a lease expiring in 2026. In total, we lease approximately 1.6 million rentable square feet in London through various leases, relating to various properties.
In Asia, we have offices that total approximately 1.5 million rentable square feet. Our headquarters in this region are in Tokyo, at the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, and in Hong Kong, at the Cheung Kong Center. In Tokyo, we currently lease approximately 415,000 rentable square feet, the majority of which will expire in 2018. In Hong Kong, we currently lease approximately 295,000 rentable square feet under lease agreements, the majority of which will expire in 2011.
Our occupancy expenses include costs associated with office space held in excess of our current requirements. This excess space, the cost of which is charged to earnings as incurred, is being held for potential growth or to replace currently occupied space that we may exit in the future. We regularly evaluate our current and future space capacity in relation to current and projected staffing levels. In 2008, we incurred exit costs of $80 million related to our office space. We may incur exit costs in the future to the extent we (i) reduce our space capacity or (ii) commit to, or occupy, new properties in the locations in which we operate and, consequently, dispose of existing space that had been held for potential growth. These exit costs may be material to our results of operations in a given period.
We are involved in a number of judicial, regulatory and arbitration proceedings (including those described below) concerning matters arising in connection with the conduct of our businesses. We believe, based on currently available information, that the results of such proceedings, in the aggregate, will not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, but might be material to our operating results for any particular period, depending, in part, upon the operating results for such period. Given the range of litigation and investigations presently under way, our litigation expenses can be expected to remain high.
Group Inc. and GS&Co. are among the numerous financial services companies that have been named as defendants in a variety of lawsuits alleging improprieties in the process by which those companies participated in the underwriting of public offerings in recent years.
GS&Co. has, together with other underwriters in certain offerings as well as the issuers and certain of their officers and directors, been named as a defendant in a number of related lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging, among other things, that the prospectuses for the offerings violated the federal securities laws by failing to disclose the existence of alleged arrangements tying allocations in certain offerings to higher customer brokerage commission rates as well as purchase orders in the aftermarket, and that the alleged arrangements resulted in market manipulation. The federal district court denied a motion to dismiss in all material respects relating to the underwriter defendants and generally granted plaintiffs motion for class certification in six focus cases. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the district courts order granting class certification, denied plaintiffs applications for rehearing and rehearing en banc, and remanded. On August 14, 2007, plaintiffs amended their complaints in the six focus cases as well as their master allegations for all such cases to reflect new class related allegations. On September 27, 2007, plaintiffs filed a new motion for class certification in the district court, and on November 14, 2007, GS&Co. and the other defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaints. Following a mediation, a settlement in principle has been reached, subject to negotiation of definitive documentation and court approval.
GS&Co. is among numerous underwriting firms named as defendants in a number of complaints filed commencing October 3, 2007, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington alleging violations of the federal securities laws in connection with offerings of securities for 16 issuers
during 1999 and 2000. The complaints generally assert that the underwriters, together with each issuers directors, officers and principal shareholders, entered into purported agreements to tie allocations in the offerings to increased brokerage commissions and aftermarket purchase orders. The complaints further allege that, based upon these and other purported agreements, the underwriters violated the reporting provisions of, and are subject to short-swing profit recovery under, Section 16 of the Exchange Act. On October 29, 2007, the cases were reassigned to a single district judge. On July 25, 2008, defendants moved to dismiss the various complaints.
GS&Co. has been named as a defendant in an action commenced on May 15, 2002 in New York Supreme Court, New York County, by an official committee of unsecured creditors on behalf of eToys, Inc., alleging that the firm intentionally underpriced eToys, Inc.s initial public offering. The action seeks, among other things, unspecified compensatory damages resulting from the alleged lower amount of offering proceeds. The court granted GS&Co.s motion to dismiss as to five of the claims; plaintiff appealed from the dismissal of the five claims, and GS&Co. appealed from the denial of its motion as to the remaining claim. The New York Appellate Division, First Department affirmed in part and reversed in part the lower courts ruling on the firms motion to dismiss, permitting all claims to proceed except the claim for fraud, as to which the appellate court granted leave to replead, and the New York Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, dismissing claims for breach of contract, professional malpractice and unjust enrichment, but permitting claims for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud to continue. On remand to the lower court, GS&Co. moved to dismiss the surviving claims or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, but the motion was denied by a decision dated March 21, 2006. Plaintiff has moved for leave to amend the complaint again, and GS&Co. has cross-moved to dismiss.
Group Inc. and certain of its affiliates have, together with various underwriters in certain offerings, received subpoenas and requests for documents and information from various governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations in connection with investigations relating to the public offering process. Goldman Sachs has cooperated with these investigations.
GS&Co. has been named as a defendant in two purported class action lawsuits commenced, beginning on May 26, 1999, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia brought on behalf of purchasers of Class A common stock of Iridium World Communications, Ltd. in a January 1999 underwritten secondary offering of 7,500,000 shares of Class A common stock. All parties entered into settlement agreements, with the underwriter defendants contributing $8.25 million to a settlement fund. The settlement was approved by the Court by order dated October 23, 2008 and has become final.
Several lawsuits have been commenced in the Netherlands courts based on alleged misstatements and omissions relating to the initial public offering of World Online in March 2000. Goldman Sachs and ABN AMRO Rothschild served as joint global coordinators of the approximately 2.9 billion offering. GSI underwrote 20,268,846 shares and GS&Co. underwrote 6,756,282 shares for a total offering price of approximately 1.16 billion.
On September 11, 2000, several Dutch World Online shareholders as well as a Dutch entity purporting to represent the interests of certain World Online shareholders commenced a proceeding in Amsterdam District Court against ABN AMRO Bank N.V., also acting under the name of ABN AMRO Rothschild, alleging misrepresentations and omissions relating to the initial public offering of World Online. The lawsuit seeks, among other things, the return of the purchase price of the shares purchased by the plaintiffs or unspecified damages. The court held that the claims failed and dismissed the complaint and the Amsterdam Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal of the complaint.
In March 2001, a Dutch shareholders association initiated legal proceedings for an unspecified amount of damages against GSI in Amsterdam District Court in connection with the World Online
offering. The court rejected the claims against GSI, but found World Online liable in an amount to be determined. The Dutch shareholders association appealed from the dismissal of their claims against GSI. By a decision dated May 3, 2007, the Netherlands Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the district court dismissing the complaint, holding that certain of the alleged disclosure deficiencies were actionable. On July 24, 2007, the shareholder association appealed from the Netherlands Court of Appeals decision to the extent that it affirmed the decision of the district court dismissing the complaint. On November 2, 2007, GSI joined the other defendants in appealing from the Court of Appeals decision to the extent that it reversed the district courts dismissal.
GS&Co. is one of several investment firms that have been named as defendants in substantively identical purported class actions filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging violations of the federal securities laws in connection with research coverage of certain issuers and seeking compensatory damages. In one such action, relating to coverage of RSL Communications, Inc. commenced on July 15, 2003, GS&Co.s motion to dismiss the complaint was denied. The district court granted the plaintiffs motion for class certification and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, by an order dated January 26, 2007, vacated the district courts class certification and remanded for reconsideration.
GS&Co. is also a defendant in several actions relating to research coverage of Exodus Communications, Inc. that commenced beginning in May 2003. The actions were consolidated, Goldman, Sachs & Co.s motion to dismiss was granted with leave to replead, and plaintiff filed a second amended complaint. The defendants motion to dismiss the second amended complaint was granted by order dated December 4, 2007, and plaintiffs motion for reconsideration was denied by order dated June 3, 2008. Plaintiff appealed the dismissal, and while the appeal was pending, the parties entered into a settlement agreement on a non-class basis, disposing of the case.
A purported shareholder derivative action was filed in New York Supreme Court, New York County on June 13, 2003 against Group Inc. and its board of directors, which, as amended on March 3, 2004 and June 14, 2005, alleges that the directors breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the firms research as well as the firms IPO allocations practices.
Group Inc., GS&Co. and Henry M. Paulson, Jr., the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Group Inc., have been named as defendants in a purported class action filed originally on July 18, 2003 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada on behalf of purchasers of Group Inc. stock from July 1, 1999 through May 7, 2002. The complaint alleges that defendants breached their fiduciary duties and violated the federal securities laws in connection with the firms research activities. The complaint seeks, among other things, unspecified compensatory damages and/or rescission. The action was transferred on consent to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the district court granted the defendants motion to dismiss with leave to amend. Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint, and defendants filed a motion to dismiss. In a decision dated September 29, 2006, the federal district court granted Mr. Paulsons motion to dismiss with leave to replead but otherwise denied the motion. Plaintiffs motion for class certification was granted by a decision dated September 15, 2008, and on September 26, 2008, the Goldman Sachs defendants filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit seeking review of the certification ruling.
Group Inc. and its affiliates, together with other financial services firms, have received requests for information from various governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations in connection with their review of research independence issues. Goldman Sachs has cooperated with these requests. See Business Regulation Regulations Applicable in and Outside the United States in Part I, Item 1 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of our global research settlement.
Goldman Sachs affiliates are defendants in certain actions relating to Enron Corp., which filed for protection under the U.S. bankruptcy laws on December 2, 2001.
GS&Co. and co-managing underwriters have been named as defendants in certain purported securities class and individual actions commenced beginning on December 14, 2001 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas and California Superior Court brought by purchasers of $255,875,000, (including over-allotments) of Exchangeable Notes of Enron Corp. in August 1999. The notes were mandatorily exchangeable in 2002 into shares of Enron Oil & Gas Company held by Enron Corp. or their cash equivalent. The complaints also name as defendants Group Inc. as well as certain past and present officers and directors of Enron Corp. and the companys outside accounting firm. The complaints generally allege violations of the disclosure requirements of the federal securities laws and/or state law, and seek compensatory damages. GS&Co. underwrote $127,937,500 (including over-allotments) principal amount of the notes. Group Inc. and GS&Co. moved to dismiss the class action complaint in the Texas federal court and the motion was granted as to Group Inc. but denied as to GS&Co. One of the plaintiffs has moved for class certification. GS&Co. has moved for judgment on the pleadings against all plaintiffs. On October 18, 2007, the parties reached a settlement agreement in principle pursuant to which GS&Co. has contributed $11.5 million to a settlement fund, subject to definitive documentation and court approval. Plaintiffs in various consolidated actions relating to Enron entered into a settlement with Banc of America Securities LLC on July 2, 2004 and with Citigroup, Inc. on June 10, 2005, including with respect to claims relating to the Exchangeable Notes offering, as to which affiliates of those settling defendants were two of the three underwriters (together with GS&Co.).
Several funds which allegedly sustained investment losses of approximately $125 million in connection with secondary market purchases of the Exchangeable Notes as well as Zero Coupon Convertible Notes of Enron Corp. commenced an action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on January 16, 2002. As amended, the lawsuit names as defendants the underwriters of the August 1999 offering and the companys outside accounting firm, and alleges violations of the disclosure requirements of the federal securities laws, fraud and misrepresentation. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has transferred that action to the Texas federal district court for purposes of coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings with other matters relating to Enron Corp. GS&Co. moved to dismiss the complaint and the motion was granted in part and denied in part. The district court granted the funds motion for leave to file a second amended complaint on January 22, 2007.
GS&Co. is among numerous defendants in two substantively identical actions filed by Enron Corp.s bankruptcy trustee in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York beginning in November 2003 seeking to recover as fraudulent transfers and/or preferences payments made by Enron Corp. in repurchasing its commercial paper shortly before its bankruptcy filing. GS&Co., which had acted as a commercial paper dealer for Enron Corp., resold to Enron Corp. approximately $30 million of commercial paper as principal, and as an agent facilitated Enron Corp.s repurchase of approximately $340 million additional commercial paper from various customers who have also been named as defendants. The bankruptcy court denied GS&Co.s motion to dismiss as well as similar motions by other defendants. On August 1, 2005, various defendants including GS&Co. petitioned to have the denial of their motion to dismiss reviewed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. On March 10, 2008, the district court denied GS&Co.s motion to remove the standing reference at the present time. On April 29, 2008, GS&Co. moved for summary judgment. On January 6, 2009, GS&Co. entered into a settlement with the trustee pursuant to which it will pay $6.95 million in exchange for a release and a bar order against any third party claims. The settlement was approved by the bankruptcy court on January 21, 2009.
By an amended complaint dated July 11, 2002, GS&Co. and the other lead underwriters for the February 2001 offering of 13,000,000 shares of common stock and $575,000,000 of 51/4% convertible subordinated notes of Exodus Communications, Inc. were added as defendants in a purported class action pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The complaint, which also names as defendants certain officers and directors of Exodus Communications, Inc., alleged violations of the disclosure requirements of the federal securities laws and seeks compensatory damages. The parties entered into a settlement agreement, with the underwriter defendants contributing $1 million toward a settlement fund. The settlement was approved by the district court on October 31, 2008 and has become final.
GS&Co. and Group Inc. have been named as defendants in a purported class action commenced originally on October 1, 2001 in Montana District Court, Second Judicial District on behalf of former shareholders of Montana Power Company. The complaint generally alleges that Montana Power Company violated Montana law by failing to procure shareholder approval of certain corporate strategies and transactions, that the companys board breached its fiduciary duties in pursuing those strategies and transactions, and that GS&Co. aided and abetted the boards breaches and rendered negligent advice in its role as financial advisor to the company. The complaint seeks, among other things, compensatory damages. In addition to GS&Co. and Group Inc., the defendants include Montana Power Company, certain of its officers and directors, an outside law firm for the Montana Power Company, and certain companies that purchased assets from Montana Power Company and its affiliates. The Montana state court denied the Goldman Sachs defendants motions to dismiss. Following the bankruptcies of certain defendants in the action, defendants removed the action to federal court, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, Butte Division.
On October 26, 2004, a creditors committee of Touch America Holdings, Inc. brought an action against GS&Co., Group Inc., and a former outside law firm for Montana Power Company in Montana District Court, Second Judicial District. The complaint asserts that Touch America Holdings, Inc. is the successor to Montana Power Corporation and alleges substantially the same claims as in the purported class action. Defendants removed the action to federal court. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, but the motion was denied by a decision dated June 10, 2005.
GS&Co. is among numerous entities named as defendants in two adversary proceedings commenced in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, one on July 6, 2003 by a creditors committee, and the second on or about July 31, 2003 by an equity committee of Adelphia Communications, Inc. Those proceedings have now been consolidated in a single amended complaint filed by the Adelphia Recovery Trust on October 31, 2007. The complaint seeks, among other things, to recover, as fraudulent conveyances, payments made allegedly by Adelphia Communications, Inc. and its affiliates to certain brokerage firms, including approximately $62.9 million allegedly paid to GS&Co., in respect of margin calls made in the ordinary course of business on accounts owned by members of the family that formerly controlled Adelphia Communications, Inc. GS&Co. moved to dismiss the claim related to such margin payments on December 21, 2007.
Spear, Leeds & Kellogg Specialists LLC (SLKS) and certain affiliates have received requests for information from various governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations as part of an industry-wide investigation relating to activities of floor specialists in recent years. Goldman Sachs has cooperated with the requests.
On March 30, 2004, certain specialist firms on the NYSE, including SLKS, without admitting or denying the allegations, entered into a final global settlement with the SEC and the NYSE covering certain activities during the years 1999 through 2003. The SLKS settlement involves, among other things, (i) findings by the SEC and the NYSE that SLKS violated certain federal securities laws and NYSE rules, and in some cases failed to supervise certain individual specialists, in connection with trades that allegedly disadvantaged customer orders, (ii) a cease and desist order against SLKS, (iii) a censure of SLKS, (iv) SLKS agreement to pay an aggregate of $45.3 million in disgorgement and a penalty to be used to compensate customers, (v) certain undertakings with respect to SLKS systems and procedures, and (v) SLKS retention of an independent consultant to review and evaluate certain of SLKS compliance systems, policies and procedures. Comparable findings were made and sanctions imposed in the settlements with other specialist firms. The settlement did not resolve the related private civil actions against SLKS and other firms or regulatory investigations involving individuals or conduct on other exchanges.
SLKS, Spear, Leeds & Kellogg, L.P. and Group Inc. are among numerous defendants named in purported class actions brought beginning in October 2003 on behalf of investors in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging violations of the federal securities laws and state common law in connection with NYSE floor specialist activities. The actions seek unspecified compensatory damages, restitution and disgorgement on behalf of purchasers and sellers of unspecified securities between October 17, 1998 and October 15, 2003. Plaintiffs filed a consolidated amended complaint on September 16, 2004. The defendants motion to dismiss the amended complaint was granted in part and denied in part by a decision dated December 13, 2005. On June 28, 2007, plaintiffs filed a motion seeking to certify a class.
On September 4, 2003, the SEC announced that GS&Co. had settled an administrative proceeding arising from certain trading in U.S. Treasury bonds over an approximately eight-minute period after GS&Co. received an October 31, 2001 telephone call from a Washington, D.C.-based political consultant concerning a forthcoming Treasury refunding announcement. Without admitting or denying the allegations, GS&Co. consented to the entry of an order that, among other things, (i) censured GS&Co.; (ii) directed GS&Co. to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations of Sections 15(c)(1)(A) and (C) and 15(f) of, and Rule 15c1-2 under, the Exchange Act; (iii) ordered GS&Co. to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest in the amount of $1,742,642, and a civil monetary penalty of $5 million; and (iv) directed GS&Co. to conduct a review of its policies and procedures and adopt, implement and maintain policies and procedures consistent with the order and that review. GS&Co. also undertook to pay $2,562,740 in disgorgement and interest relating to certain trading in U.S. Treasury bond futures during the same eight-minute period.
GS&Co. has been named as a defendant in a purported class action filed on March 10, 2004 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of holders of short positions in 30-year U.S. Treasury futures and options on the morning of October 31, 2001. The complaint alleges that the firm purchased 30-year bonds and futures prior to the Treasurys refunding announcement that morning based on non-public information about that announcement, and that such purchases increased the costs of covering such short positions. The complaint also names as defendants the Washington, D.C.-based political consultant who allegedly was the source of the information, a former GS&Co. economist who allegedly received the information, and another company and one of its employees who also allegedly received and traded on the information prior to its public announcement. The complaint alleges violations of the federal commodities and antitrust laws, as well as Illinois statutory and common law, and seeks, among other things, unspecified damages including treble damages under the antitrust laws. The district court dismissed the antitrust and Illinois state law claims but permitted the federal commodities law claims to proceed. Plaintiffs motion for class certification was denied by a decision dated August 22, 2008. GS&Co. moved for summary judgment, and by a decision dated July 30, 2008, the district court granted the motion insofar as the remaining
claim relates to the trading of treasury bonds, but denied the motion without prejudice to the extent the claim relates to trading of treasury futures.
GS&Co. and certain mutual fund affiliates have received subpoenas and requests for information from various governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations including the SEC as part of the industry-wide investigation relating to the practices of mutual funds and their customers. GS&Co. and its affiliates have cooperated with such requests.
GS&Co. and the other lead underwriters for the August 2005 initial public offering of 26,500,000 shares of common stock of Refco Inc. are among the defendants in various putative class actions filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York beginning in October 2005 by investors in Refco Inc. in response to certain publicly reported events that culminated in the October 17, 2005 filing by Refco Inc. and certain affiliates for protection under U.S. bankruptcy laws. The actions, which have been consolidated, allege violations of the disclosure requirements of the federal securities laws and seek compensatory damages. In addition to the underwriters, the consolidated complaint names as defendants Refco Inc. and certain of its affiliates, certain officers and directors of Refco Inc., Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (which held a majority of Refco Inc.s equity through certain funds it manages), Grant Thornton (Refco Inc.s outside auditor), and BAWAG P.S.K. Bank fur Arbeit und Wirtschaft und Osterreichische Postsparkasse Aktiengesellschaft (BAWAG). Lead plaintiffs entered into a settlement with BAWAG, which was approved following certain amendments on June 29, 2007. GS&Co. underwrote 5,639,200 shares of common stock at a price of $22 per share for a total offering price of approximately $124 million.
A purported shareholder derivative action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on November 2, 2005 on behalf of Group Inc. against certain of its officers and directors. The complaint alleges that the individual defendants breached their fiduciary duties by failing to ensure that adequate due diligence was conducted in connection with the Refco Inc. initial public offering. The parties subsequently stipulated to the actions dismissal, and the action was dismissed by the district court by order dated January 7, 2009.
GS&Co. has, together with other underwriters of the Refco Inc. initial public offering, received requests for information from various governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations. GS&Co. is cooperating with those requests.
Group Inc., GS&Co. and Goldman Sachs Execution & Clearing, L.P. are among the numerous financial services firms that have been named as defendants in a purported class action filed on April 12, 2006 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by customers who engaged in short-selling transactions in equity securities since April 12, 2000. The amended complaint generally alleges that the customers were charged fees in connection with the short sales but that the applicable securities were not necessarily borrowed to effect delivery, resulting in failed deliveries, and that the defendants conspired to set a minimum threshold borrowing rate for securities designated as hard to borrow. The complaint asserts a claim under the federal antitrust laws, as well as claims under the New York Business Law and common law, and seeks treble damages as well as injunctive relief. Defendants motion to dismiss the complaint was granted by a decision dated December 20, 2007. On January 18, 2008, plaintiffs appealed from this decision.
GS&Co. was added as a defendant in an amended complaint filed on August 14, 2006 in a purported class action pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The complaint
asserts violations of the federal securities laws generally arising from allegations concerning Fannie Maes accounting practices in connection with certain Fannie Mae-sponsored REMIC transactions that were allegedly arranged by GS&Co. The other defendants include Fannie Mae, certain of its past and present officers and directors, and accountants. By a decision dated May 8, 2007, the district court granted GS&Co.s motion to dismiss the claim against it. The time for an appeal will not begin to run until disposition of the claims against other defendants.
Beginning in September 2006, Group Inc. and/or GS&Co. were added named as defendants in four Fannie Mae shareholder derivative actions in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The complaints generally allege that the Goldman Sachs defendants aided and abetted a breach of fiduciary duty by Fannie Maes directors and officers in connection with certain Fannie Mae-sponsored REMIC transactions and one of the complaints also asserts a breach of contract claim. The complaints also name as defendants certain former officers and directors of Fannie Mae as well as an outside accounting firm. The complaints seek, inter alia, unspecified damages. The Goldman Sachs defendants were dismissed without prejudice from the first filed of these actions, and the remaining claims in that action were dismissed for failure to make a demand on Fannie Maes board of directors. That dismissal has been affirmed on appeal. The remaining three actions have been stayed by the district court.
On February 13, 2007, the liquidators of General American Mutual Holding Corporation filed a complaint in Missouri Circuit Court against one of the companys former officers to assert claims against Group Inc. and GS&Co. The amended complaint asserted that the Goldman Sachs defendants breached certain duties and violated Missouri law in the course of acting as the companys financial advisor during 1998-1999 in connection with the exploration of a potential demutualization and initial public offering, and the ensuing sale of certain company assets. The complaint sought compensatory and punitive damages. The parties settled the action, with the Goldman Sachs defendants paying $99.975 million. The settlement was approved by order dated November 6, 2008.
On March 16, 2007, Group Inc., its board of directors, executive officers and members of its management committee were named as defendants in a purported shareholder derivative action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York challenging the sufficiency of the firms February 21, 2007 Proxy Statement and the compensation of certain employees. The complaint generally alleges that the Proxy Statement undervalues stock option awards disclosed therein, that the recipients received excessive awards because the proper methodology was not followed, and that the firms senior management received excessive compensation, constituting corporate waste. The complaint seeks, among other things, an injunction against the 2007 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, the voiding of any election of directors in the absence of an injunction and an equitable accounting for the allegedly excessive compensation. On July 20, 2007, defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, the motion was granted by an order dated December 18, 2008 and plaintiff appealed on January 13, 2009.
On January 17, 2008, Group Inc., its board of directors, executive officers and members of its management committee were named as defendants in a related purported shareholder derivative action brought by the same plaintiff in the same court predicting that the firms 2008 Proxy Statement will violate the federal securities laws by undervaluing certain stock option awards and alleging that senior management received excessive compensation for 2007. The complaint seeks, among other things, an injunction against the distribution of the 2008 Proxy Statement, the voiding of any election
of directors in the absence of an injunction and an equitable accounting for the allegedly excessive compensation. On January 25, 2008, the plaintiff moved for a preliminary injunction to prevent the 2008 Proxy Statement from using options valuations that the plaintiff alleges are incorrect and to require the amendment of SEC Form 4s filed by certain of the executive officers named in the complaint to reflect the stock option valuations alleged by the plaintiff. Plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction was denied by order dated February 14, 2008, plaintiff appealed and twice moved to expedite the appeal, with the motions being denied by orders dated February 29, 2008 and April 3, 2008.
GS&Co. and certain of its affiliates, together with other financial services firms, have received requests for information from various governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations relating to subprime mortgages, and securitizations, collateralized debt obligations and synthetic products related to subprime mortgages. GS&Co. and its affiliates are cooperating with the requests.
GS&Co., along with numerous other financial institutions, is a defendant in an action brought by the City of Cleveland alleging that the defendants activities in connection with securitizations of subprime mortgages created a public nuisance in Cleveland. The action is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and the complaint seeks, among other things, unspecified compensatory damages. Defendants moved to dismiss on November 24, 2008.
GS&Co., Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company and GS Mortgage Securities Corp. are among the defendants in a purported class action commenced on December 11, 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York brought on behalf of purchasers of various mortgage pass-through certificates and asset-backed certificates issued by various securitization trusts in 2007 and underwritten by GS&Co. The other defendants include the various issuer trusts that issued the securities as well as certain officers and directors of certain of the entity defendants. The complaint generally alleges that the registration statement and prospectus supplements for the certificates violated the federal securities laws. The complaint asserts claims against the issuer trusts and GS&Co. under Section 11 of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act), and a related controlling person claim against the other defendants under Section 15 of the Securities Act, and seeks unspecified compensatory damages and rescission or recessionary damages.
On August 21, 2008, GS&Co. entered into a settlement in principle with the Office of Attorney General of the State of New York and the Illinois Securities Department (on behalf of the North American Securities Administrators Association) regarding auction rate securities. Under the agreement, Goldman Sachs agreed, among other things, (i) to offer to repurchase at par the outstanding auction rate securities that its private wealth management clients purchased through the firm prior to February 11, 2008, with the exception of those auction rate securities where auctions are clearing, (ii) to continue to work with issuers and other interested parties, including regulatory and governmental entities, to expeditiously provide liquidity solutions for institutional investors, and (iii) to pay a $22.5 million fine. The settlement, which is subject to definitive documentation and approval by the various states, does not resolve any potential regulatory action by the SEC.
On August 28, 2008, a putative shareholder derivative action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York naming as defendants Group Inc., its board of directors, and certain senior officers. The complaint alleges generally that the board breached its fiduciary duties and committed mismanagement in connection with its oversight of auction rate securities marketing and trading operations, that certain individual defendants engaged in insider selling by selling shares of Group Inc., and that the firms public filings were false and misleading in violation of the federal securities laws by failing to accurately disclose the alleged practices involving auction rate securities. The complaint seeks damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, restitution, and an order requiring the firm to adopt corporate reforms. Defendants moved to dismiss on January 23, 2009.
On September 4, 2008, Group Inc. was named as a defendant, together with numerous other financial services firms, in two complaints filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to manipulate the auction securities market in violation of federal antitrust laws. The actions were filed, respectively, on behalf of putative classes of issuers of and investors in auction rate securities and seek, among other things, treble damages. Defendants moved to dismiss on January 15, 2009.
Group Inc. and GS Capital Partners are among numerous private equity firms and investment banks named as defendants in a federal antitrust action filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in December 2007. As amended, the complaint generally alleges that the defendants have colluded to limit competition in bidding for private equity-sponsored acquisitions of public companies, thereby resulting in lower prevailing bids and, by extension, less consideration for shareholders of those companies in violation of Section 1 of the U.S. Sherman Antitrust Act and common law. Defendants moved to dismiss on August 27, 2008. By an order dated November 19, 2008, the district court dismissed claims relating to certain transactions that were the subject of releases as part of the settlement of shareholder actions challenging such transactions, and by an order dated December 15, 2008 otherwise denied the motion to dismiss.
GS&Co. is among numerous underwriters named as defendants in a putative securities class action amended complaint filed on August 5, 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. As to the underwriters, plaintiffs allege that the offering documents in connection with various securities offerings by Washington Mutual, Inc. failed to describe accurately the companys exposure to mortgage-related activities in violation of the disclosure requirements of the federal securities laws. The defendants include past and present directors and officers of Washington Mutual, the companys former outside auditors, and numerous underwriters. The underwriter defendants moved to dismiss on December 8, 2008. GS&Co. underwrote $788,500,000 principal amount of securities in the offerings at issue.
On September 25, 2008, the FDIC took over the primary banking operations of Washington Mutual, Inc. and then sold them. On September 27, 2008, Washington Mutual, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware.
GS&Co. is among the underwriters named as defendants in numerous putative securities class actions filed beginning on November 6, 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York arising from the June 17, 2008 $125 million initial public offering of common stock of Britannia Bulk Holdings, Inc. The complaints name as defendants the company, certain of its directors and officers, and the underwriters for the offering. Plaintiffs allege that the offering materials violated the disclosure requirements of the federal securities laws and seek compensatory damages. Defendants have yet to respond.
GS&Co. underwrote 3.75 million shares of common stock for a total offering price of $56.25 million. The principal operating subsidiary of Britannia Bulk Holdings, Inc. is subject to an insolvency proceeding in the U.K. courts.
There were no matters submitted to a vote of security holders during the fourth quarter of our fiscal year ended November 28, 2008.
Set forth below are the name, age, present title, principal occupation and certain biographical information as of January 26, 2009 for our executive officers. All of our executive officers have been appointed by and serve at the pleasure of our board of directors.
Mr. Blankfein has been our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since June 2006, and a director since April 2003. Previously, he had been our President and Chief Operating Officer since January 2004. Prior to that, from April 2002 until January 2004, he was a Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs, with management responsibility for Goldman Sachs Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division (FICC) and Equities Division (Equities). Prior to becoming a Vice Chairman, he had served as co-head of FICC since its formation in 1997. From 1994 to 1997, he headed or co-headed the Currency and Commodities Division. Mr. Blankfein is not on the board of any public company other than Goldman Sachs. He is affiliated with certain non-profit organizations, including as a member of the Harvard University Committee on University Resources, the Advisory Board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management and the Governing Board of the Indian School of Business, an overseer of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and a director of the Partnership for New York City and Catalyst.
Mr. Cohen has been an Executive Vice President of Goldman Sachs and our Global Head of Compliance since February 2004. From 1991 until January 2004, he was a partner in the law firm of OMelveny & Myers LLP. He is affiliated with certain non-profit organizations, including as a board member of the New York Stem Cell Foundation.
Mr. Cohn has been our President and Co-Chief Operating Officer and a director since June 2006. Previously, he had been the co-head of Goldman Sachs global securities businesses since January 2004. He also had been the co-head of Equities since 2003 and the co-head of FICC since September 2002. From March 2002 to September 2002, he served as co-chief operating officer of FICC. Prior to that, beginning in 1999, Mr. Cohn managed the FICC macro businesses. From 1996 to 1999, he was the global head of Goldman Sachs commodities business. Mr. Cohn is not on the board of any public company other than Goldman Sachs. He is affiliated with certain non-profit organizations, including as a trustee of the Gilmour Academy, the NYU Child Study Center, the NYU Hospital, the NYU Medical School, the Harlem Childrens Zone and American University.
Mr. Evans has been a Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs since February 2008 and chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia since 2004. Prior to becoming a Vice Chairman, he had served as global co-head of Goldman Sachs securities business since 2003. Previously, he had been co-head of the Equities Division since 2001. Mr. Evans is a board member of CASPER (Center for Advancement of Standards-based Physical Education Reform). He also serves as a trustee of the Bendheim Center for Finance at Princeton University.
Mr. Palm has been an Executive Vice President of Goldman Sachs since May 1999, and our General Counsel and head or co-head of the Legal Department since May 1992.
Mr. Sherwood has been a Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs since February 2008 and co-chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs International since 2005. Prior to becoming a Vice Chairman, he had served as global co-head of Goldman Sachs securities business since 2003. Prior to that, he had been head of the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division in Europe since 2001.
Ms. Stecher has been an Executive Vice President of Goldman Sachs and our General Counsel and co-head of the Legal Department since December 2000. From 1994 to 2000, she was head of the firms Tax Department, over which she continues to have senior oversight responsibility. She is also a trustee of Columbia University.
Mr. Viniar has been an Executive Vice President of Goldman Sachs and our Chief Financial Officer since May 1999. He has been the head of Operations, Technology, Finance and Services Division since December 2002. He was head of the Finance Division and co-head of Credit Risk Management and Advisory and Firmwide Risk from December 2001 to December 2002. Mr. Viniar was co-head of Operations, Finance and Resources from March 1999 to December 2001. He was Chief Financial Officer of The Goldman Sachs Group, L.P. from March 1999 to May 1999. From July 1998 until March 1999, he was Deputy Chief Financial Officer and from 1994 until July 1998, he was head of Finance, with responsibility for Controllers and Treasury. From 1992 to 1994, he was head of Treasury and prior to that was in the Structured Finance Department of Investment Banking. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Union College.
Mr. Weinberg has been a Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs since June 2006. He has been co-head of Goldman Sachs Investment Banking Division since December 2002. From January 2002 to December 2002, he was co-head of the Investment Banking Division in the Americas. Prior to that, he served as co-head of the Investment Banking Services Department since 1997. He is affiliated with certain non-profit organizations, including as a board member at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, The Steppingstone Foundation, the Greenwich Country Day School and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. Mr. Weinberg also serves on the Visiting Committee for Harvard Business School.
Mr. Winkelried has been our President and Co-Chief Operating Officer and a director since June 2006. Previously, he had been the co-head of Goldman Sachs Investment Banking Division since January 2005. From 2000 to 2005, he was co-head of FICC. From 1999 to 2000, he was head of FICC in Europe. From 1995 to 1999, he was responsible for Goldman Sachs leveraged finance business. Mr. Winkelried is not on the board of any public company other than Goldman Sachs. He is also a trustee of the University of Chicago.
The principal market on which our common stock is traded is the NYSE. Information relating to the high and low sales prices per share of our common stock, as reported by the Consolidated Tape Association, for each full quarterly period during fiscal 2007 and 2008 is set forth under the heading Supplemental Financial Information Common Stock Price Range in Part II, Item 8 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K. As of January 16, 2009, there were 9,909 holders of record of our common stock.
During fiscal 2008 and 2007, dividends of $0.35 per share of common stock were declared on December 11, 2007, March 12, 2008, June 13, 2007, September 19, 2007, December 17, 2007, March 17, 2008, June 16, 2008 and September 15, 2008. The holders of our common stock share proportionately on a per share basis in all dividends and other distributions on common stock declared by our board of directors.
The declaration of dividends by Goldman Sachs is subject to the discretion of our board of directors. Our board of directors will take into account such matters as general business conditions, our financial results, capital requirements, contractual, legal and regulatory restrictions on the payment of dividends by us to our shareholders or by our subsidiaries to us, the effect on our debt ratings and such other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant. See Business Regulation in Part I, Item 1 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of potential regulatory limitations on our receipt of funds from our regulated subsidiaries and our payment of dividends to shareholders of Group Inc.
Prior to October 28, 2011, unless we have redeemed all the preferred stock issued to the U.S. Treasury on October 28, 2008 or unless the U.S. Treasury has transferred all the preferred stock to a third party, the consent of the U.S. Treasury will be required for us to declare or pay any dividend or make any distribution on common stock other than (i) regular quarterly cash dividends of not more than $0.35 per share, as adjusted