GOLDMAN/

Goldman Sachs Cutting Up to 10% of Trading Staff

Industries Reuters

Goldman Sachs is cutting between five and 10 percent of staff in its fixed income and currency trading business, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

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This is part of the annual process around this time of year when a swathe of people, typically around five percent of Goldman's overall workforce, is let go. Goldman employed 36,800 people at the end of 2015.

But its FIC division is likely to feel the squeeze more than most because of the challenges posed by low interest rates and stricter regulations that have curbed profits in areas like fixed income trading.

A spokesman for Goldman in New York declined to comment. The company does not give a breakdown of its employee numbers in the FIC division.

Revenue from FIC trading was $1.12 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2008, during the depths of the financial crisis.

FICC comprised 15 percent of overall revenue, a far cry from the days when it regularly contributed about 40 percent.

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Goldman Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein last month said the bank remained committed to fixed income trading but signaled that market turmoil, declining oil prices and concerns about profitability across the banking sector meant costs would be cut again.

"We can absolutely do a lot more on the cost side if we have to, especially now, when you have to deliver a return," Blankfein told a financial services forum in Miami on Feb. 9.

"We take a particular and energetic look at continued cost cuts when revenues are stalled ... Necessity is the mother of invention."

Blankfein said last month that the bank had already taken measures to cut headcount, which it has reduced 10 percent in its fixed income business since 2012.

Goldman's shares are down 14 percent so far this year, underperforming the broader S&P financials index which is down 7 percent.

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Keith Weir)