Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

For the first time in its 151-year history, Goldman Sachs, the storied investment bank, opened its doors to investors and others for a day of presentations about its various business lines — and how it has been remaking itself.

Why it matters: David Solomon has been CEO for just more than a year, and under him, the bank has pivoted toward the mass market and making other strategic moves that could have a big effect on the evolution of modern banking.

The takeaway: For the first time, the firm released earnings targets and talked openly and in detail about its plans and aspirations — aiming in part to appease shareholders who want to see Goldman's stock price rise.

  • Among the targets: at least 13% return on equity within three years (vs. 10% in 2019) and an efficiency ratio — a measure of how well banks manage costs relative to revenue — of approximately 60% (lower is better; the figure was 68% last year).
  • Top priorities include expanding the 3-year-old consumer bank, Marcus, which has so far attracted 5 million customers, $60 billion in deposits and $7 billion in loans, which include balances on its Apple-branded credit card. (Those numbers are teeny in the world of big consumer banks.)
  • This year, Marcus will introduce wealth management and investment options; checking will come in 2021.
  • Other big GS plans: to expand payment processing for companies and other large institutions (a division called "transaction banking") and widen adoption of Marquee, an online data and analytics tool for institutional investors.
  • Goldman is hiring hundreds of financial advisers globally to ramp up its money management business.
  • The firm will spend $750 billion over the next decade on "sustainable economic growth."

"One Goldman Sachs," a motto and initiative that Solomon started on his first day as CEO, was a constant refrain among the day's speakers. In his opening remarks, Solomon called it a "firmwide effort to simplify the way to engage with our clients and deliver all of our capabilities in a more holistic fashion."

  • "The whole industry grew up in selling products in silos," Solomon said, adding that this mentality has to change.
  • "This is a very important pivot," not just for Goldman, but for the whole industry.

Yes, but: Some analysts asked Solomon whether tinkering with businesses like investment banking and M&A — where the firm is the market leader — made sense.

  • Solomon said Goldman was aiming for "more consistent and durable revenues."
  • And: "Investment banking is truly the front end of Goldman Sachs. And a key element of our firmwide strategy is improving the access that the rest of the firm has to this great corporate franchise."

Another question — addressed to a panel on sustainability — was how talk about enlightened policies squared with the Malaysian corruption scandal that cost the firm money and reputation last year.

  • Solomon said earlier in the day that the so-called 1MDB scandal made him "acutely aware of how the actions of a few” could mar a company’s brand.

The bottom line: The "new" Goldman, with a relaxed dress code and a CEO who moonlights as a D.J., says it's committed to transparency, long-term growth and putting clients first.

  • “Our purpose is to advance sustainable economic growth and financial opportunity," Solomon said. "We are proud advocates for capitalism.”

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America is anxious, angry and heavily armed

Data: FBI; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Firearms background checks in the U.S. hit a record high in 2020.

The big picture: This past year took our collective arsenal to new heights, with millions of Americans buying guns for the first time. That trend coincides with a moment of peak political and social tension.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.