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Goldman Sachs weighs sale for part of its wealth business


By Saeed Azhar

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs is weighing the sale of a part of its wealth business catering to high net worth clients, it said on Monday, as it shifts its focus back to serving the ultra-rich.

The Wall Street bank is evaluating alternatives for its registered investment adviser unit, called Personal Financial Management (PFM), which manages about $29 billion, it said in a statement.

Goldman bought the registered investment adviser, formerly known as United Capital Financial Partners, for $750 million in 2019 when it managed about $25 billion in funds. The purchase aimed to broaden Goldman’s client list beyond the ultra-rich, but the unit has remained a small part of the bank’s wealth business.

Goldman’s private wealth unit oversees $1 trillion in assets for ultra-high net worth clients.

The potential divestment comes after CEO David Solomon reorganized the firm into three units last year and scaled back ambitions for its loss-making consumer business.

Its fintech business, GreenSky, is also for sale.

Solomon has been under pressure to turn around Goldman’s fortunes after its profit sank 60% in the second quarter as writedowns on its consumer businesses and real estate investments weighed on earnings.

The bank plans to grow its core wealth business serving ultra-high net worth clients, reiterating aspirations from its investor day in late February. Other core wealth businesses include workplace financial planning through Ayco, and Marcus savings, Goldman said.

U.S. banks compete to serve ultra-wealthy clients by providing brokerage, mortgage and other services, as well as estate and tax planning. Those activities tend to generate more stable revenues than volatile Wall Street operations, such as investment banking and trading, which are strongly linked to economic activity.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Lananh Nguyen and Tom Hogue)

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