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Morning Coffee: Goldman Sachs' GOAT quarter means David Solomon is untethered. Larry Fink needs protection

How long before Goldman Sachs' CEO David Solomon starts DJing again? Following the 28% increase in Goldman Sachs' Q1 profits and the resurgence of its core trading and investment banking businesses, scrutiny of Solomon is dissipating.

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Writing for Puck, former Lazard banker William Cohan notes that Goldman's share price has risen 35% in the past six months, versus an increase of just 25% for Morgan Stanley and 26% for JPMorgan. The renewed enthusiasm for Goldman stock means that the valuation gap between Goldman and Morgan Stanley has shrunk to $17bn, down from $40bn at its peak.

Goldman's resurgence (admittedly it wasn't a 'Greatest of All Time' quarter, but it was the best since the pandemic) means that six years into his tenure as CEO, Solomon is being cut some slack. Senior Goldman people are still leaving, but the complaints are dwindling and the side eyes at Solomon's extracurriculars look less justified. The Wall Street Journal reports that Solomon is among the CEOs frequenting "secret retreats" in hotels and on yachts for billionaires, CEOs, and assorted models and sports people. Last year, this might have raised some eyebrows. This year, that simply looks like part of his job.

Separately, BlackRock's Larry Fink has some potentially dangerous haters. The Financial Times notes that BlackRock spent $564k to upgrade home security systems at Fink's homes in 2023, plus $217k in personal protection for its 71-year-old CEO. 

This follows complaints about BlackRock's ESG investing in presidential debates and one Republican nominee's claim that Fink is “the king of the woke industrial complex [and] the ESG movement”. 

Fink isn't alone in needing more protection. The FT says JPMorgan spent $151k on Jamie Dimon's residential, personal travel, and related security” last year. However, Goldman's spending on Solomon's security was a mere $29.9k, down from $32k in 2022. 

Meanwhile...

Jane Street's most profitable trading strategy has something to do with India, but it doesn't want anyone to know this. (Bloomberg) 

Millennium says the traders it poached from Jane Street are doing nothing wrong. “They are simply applying their knowledge and experience to trade in a market where Millennium and its affiliates have long been engaged in trading activity (including in options) and has established relationships with relevant brokers and other third-parties.” (Financial Times) 

Commodities trader Ryan Belshaw left Goldman for Millennium in Dubai. (Bloomberg) 

ExodusPoint hired three traders in Dubai. (Bloomberg) 

Commodities trading firms are on a hiring spree for weather forecasters and data analysts. (Financial Times) 

American investment banking is back. European investment banking is not. The Americas accounted for 54% of investment banking fees globally last year and Americas fees were up 15% year-on-year, in contrast to sharp falls in Asia and flat fees in EMEA. (Financial Times) 

It's a bad time to be a banker in Hong Kong as jobs keep being cut. It doesn't help that HK bankers earn 40%-70% more than bankers in Singapore. (Bloomberg) 

BNP Paribas hired 30 people for its Chinese securities unit. (Bloomberg) 

Why female traders like playing chess. “You have to decide which move to make, and often there is no clear way of seeing the outcome. You have to rely on your intuition. You have to do the same taking risk in the market." (Bloomberg) 

EY's London partners are disgruntled about falling pay and cost-cutting following the expensive failed attempt to split the auditing and consulting operations, imposed upon them by global leadership. Last year their pay fell £40k each on average to £761k, £150k less than partners at PwC and £250k less than partners at Deloitte. (The Times) 

Morgan Stanley hired Andy Lipsy, JPMorgan's chairman of investment banking. (Bloomberg) 

If your dog is in New York, you probably live in New York for tax purposes even if you say you don't. (Bloomberg) 

Anonymous English fintech guy in New York confesses to seducing all his friends' wives. "I’m a fairly average-looking bloke, 5 feet 10 inches, Jason Statham bald with the beginnings of a dad paunch.” (NY Post) 

Don't pursue your passion unless you have independent income. Diversify your meaning-making portfolio and try to shrink paid work to a predictable part of your life. (Substack) 

Ironically, the best test if something is worth committing to, is to commit ourselves to it and find out. (The Way of Work) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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