Goldman Sachs CFO eyes wealth management acquisitions in Europe

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may seek to manage more of the fortunes of Europe’s wealthy as the Wall Street brokerage looks to expand beyond the volatile returns of equity and bond trading.

The New York-based firm currently only has a “single-digit” share of the European wealth management industry, Chief Financial Officer Stephen Scherr said in an interview with Francine Lacqua. An acquisition would help Goldman Sachs compete in an industry dominated by Swiss banks UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG.

“There’s an opportunity for us to grow our wealth management business more meaningfully in Europe,” Scherr said. “If there was an opportunity for us to look at an asset that could accelerate our entry into wealth management in Europe, we would look at it.”

Executives at Goldman Sachs have been sketching out more details of how the firm plans to expand beyond its investment-bank division into more stable sources of revenue. The brokerage last month agreed to buy U.S. wealth manager United Capital for $750 million, one of its biggest deals in recent years, and is also targeting transaction banking and consumer services.

Meanwhile, the firm continues its “very co-operative repose” with the Department of Justice over the probe into Goldman’s dealings with Malaysia’s state investment fund 1MDB, Scherr said. “I’d like to say we’ll be in a position to resolve this quickly but we’ll need to see how that plays in the rather constructive dialogue we’re having with the Department of Justice in the U.S. and other regulators around the world.”