A dollar invested in Goldman in 2010 would be worth just $1.60 today. A dollar wagered on the s&p 500 would be worth $3.60, and on JPMorgan Chase, $4.10. If Goldman’s reinvention fails it may ultimately have to do a deal. Uniting Wells Fargo and Goldman, for example, would create something more like JPMorgan Chase (and with a similar-sized balance-sheet).
IN ITS PRIME Goldman Sachs was exceptional. Fifteen years ago, just before the global financial crisis, the bank easily outshone its Wall Street rivals—winning the most lucrative deals and making the most profitable trades. It printed money, both for shareholders and employees. Although the crisis imperilled the firm along with the rest of the banking industry, it navigated the chaos relatively well. Success allowed it to be haughty—while other banks engaged in the grubby game of sucking up to investors, Goldman remained secretive and enigmatic. How times have changed. This week the firm held its first investor day, led by David Solomon, who took over as chief executive last year. It comes after a long period of underperformance.