Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) (2.5% of the Fund) is a leading global investment bank, securities broker, and investment manager that provides financial services to a diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals. Since the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs has deleveraged its balance sheet, shed risky assets, and increased its liquidity. As European competitors (e.g., Credit Suisse, UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland) continue to cut costs and retreat from investment banking, Goldman has an opportunity to further increase its market share in many key businesses. While regulatory requirements have increased, this should reduce the probability of large trading losses. Finally, although market turns can be sudden and difficult to predict, Goldman Sachs has demonstrated an ability to remain profitable: over the past 16 quarters, its return on common equity has averaged an impressive 10%.
Continuing macroeconomic uncertainty has led to diminished primary debt and equity issuance and weaker secondary market trading conditions. Many of Goldman Sachs’ key clients, such as hedge funds and active asset managers, are experiencing net asset outflows. In this period of slower activity, the company has maintained its global network while downsizing naturally through attrition. The weak operating environment and concerns about Brexit have weighed on the stock, which was down 17% during the first half of 2016. However, after carefully analyzing the company’s risks and opportunities, we recently added to Goldman Sachs because it is an increasingly dominant player, has a highly profitable business, and trades at an attractive 0.9 times tangible book value. Continue Reading »