Updated Mar 15, 2022 - World

Goldman Sachs CEO: Isolating Russia is "not our job"

David Solomon
Goldman Sachs CEO, David M. Solomon speaks on stage during Pivot MIA at 1 Hotel South Beach on February 15th, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Vox Media

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said that isolating or completely ostracizing Russia is "not our job" or the job of the financial industry, he said in a Time interview published Sunday.

Driving the news: JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs exited Russia last week following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  • Goldman retained its market-making business in the country, which would allow it to serve as an intermediary between outside buyers and sellers, per Axios' Pete Gannon.

Details: In the Time interview, Solomon was responding to a question about the role played by the financial industry and if Wall Street could or should do more.

  • He prefaced his answer by noting that he agreed with Western governments imposing sanctions against Russia and those were "reasonable and powerful actions."

What they're saying: "But you ask, 'are we doing a good job, ostracizing Russia?' That’s not our job. And by us, I mean the financial industry broadly," Solomon said.

  • "I know on social media at the moment, there’s a call for companies to ostracize Russia. I don’t understand how we ostracize Russia. We follow the laws—both in the letter and the spirit," Solomon added.

On Tuesday, Solomon sought to clarify his comments and the bank said the comment was taken out of context.

  • “As the first major financial institution to announce the wind down of our operations in Russia, we firmly believe it is our responsibility at Goldman Sachs to lead the way in supporting the U.S. and International community’s efforts to punish Putin and his regime for the invasion of Ukraine," Solomon said.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional comment from Goldman Sachs,

Go deeper