FCIC Finds Majority Of Revenues In Goldman's Most Profitable FICC Division Came From Derivatives

Tyler Durden's picture

Frequent readers know that when it comes to Goldman Sachs, Zero Hedge has consistently claimed two things: i) that in the peak bubble days, the firm regularly commingled flow and prop traders on its trading floor(s), thereby allowing prop traders to either front run the firm's flow accounts, or trade alongside them in real time; and ii) that when it comes to OTC derivative trading, Goldman Sachs is the de facto Wall Street monopoly, a status made even more acute following the annihilation of Bear and Lehman, thereby cementing the firm's undisputed role as primary fixed income/OTC derivative market maker. Whereas yesterday we received indirect confirmation of the former, when we learned that Merrill was slapped on the hand with a token $10 million fine for doing precisely what we alleged, and which we are certain will soon be reconfirmed transpired at all other major banks in the 2003-2007 period, Goldman most certainly, and probably profitably, included, tomorrow it will be made clear that Goldman was an effective monopolist within the derivative space, with a bulk of its revenues in its highest margin, FICC group, coming from derivatives. When tomorrow the FCIC releases its long-awaited 545-page report exposing a tiny fraction of the criminality on Wall Street, we will discover that "Derivatives accounted for 70 percent to 75 percent of revenue in the firm’s commodities business from 2006 to 2009, and “half or more” of revenue from interest rates and currencies, the firm estimated, according to a report by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. From May 2007 to November 2008, about 86 percent of $155 billion in trades made by the firm’s mortgage business involved derivatives, the FCIC said."

A breakdown of the firm's "activity" by segment was provided by Goldman recently. As can be seen when it comes to FICC, the firm's perpetually most profitable group, which combines both prop and flow, derivatives accounted for a majority (50%-55%) of the revenue:

And since revenues are obviously not profit or pre-tax net income we present a recent breakdown showing that when it comes to actual margins, FICC, both prop and flow, generate by far the highest firm-wide margins:

In other words, derivatives have long been the driver behind the bulk of the revenue of the firm's most profitable group, in a time when the banking lobby (read Goldman) does everything in its power to prevent the collapse of OTC trading margins, and thus compromise the firm's second to none monopolistic position in the space. We are confident that when the FCIC report is released tomorrow, much more information on Goldman's activities will be gleaned. In the meantime, Bloomberg has the following additional disclosure:

The commission examined derivatives as part of an investigation of the credit crisis, which sparked the worst recession since the 1930s and the loss of more than 8 million U.S. jobs. Derivatives -- contracts whose value is derived from assets such as stocks, bonds, currencies or commodities -- may have contributed to the turmoil by making it hard for regulators, responding to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s 2008 bankruptcy, to gauge the interconnectedness of financial firms.

 Stephen Cohen, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment. The company yesterday posted on its website a copy of its response to the panel’s questions on derivatives, listing the share of revenue generated through derivatives in different types of trading. The figures are based on a “rough analysis of our major businesses” from 2006 to 2009, it said.

“To be clear, these percentages do not accurately reflect the percentage of aggregate firm-wide revenues from derivative transactions, since each individual business is a mix of derivative and non-derivative activity,” the firm wrote to the FCIC. The estimates were “prepared solely for the purposes of your request, and we would not (and do not) use this information in the management of our businesses.”

But wait, there's more...

Also as part of tomorrow's FCIC disclosure, we will discover that "Wells Fargo & Co. aimed to take advantage of a change in tax law
that occurred two days earlier when revising a 2008 offer for Wachovia
and trumping a bid by Citigroup Inc., the Financial Crisis Inquiry
Commission said." BusinessWeek reports on the latest act of criminal impropriety by the then-administration, not to mention the complicity of the IRS, and the executive branch:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair told the panel that Richard Kovacevich, Well Fargo’s chairman, informed her that IRS Notice 2008-83 -- which gave tax breaks to acquirers of struggling banks -- “had been a factor leading to Wells’s revised bid,” according to the report. A previous offer by Wells Fargo had been rejected as regulators rushed to stave off bankruptcy at Wachovia.

Wells Fargo’s offer of $15.1 billion in stock derailed Wachovia’s agreement to sell its banking operations to Citigroup, which was reached a day before the IRS notice, according to the report. That led to two years of litigation among the banks. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo posted more than $20 billion in profit since the deal, while Citigroup required a $45 billion U.S. bailout.

The tax break, repealed in 2009, was “an unprecedented executive branch usurpation of tax law,” Commission vice- chairman Bill Thomas said last year.

Basically what happened for those who are confused, is that the tax law was changed in the last minute to prevent Citi, which Paulson et al thought may fail, from buying Wachovia.

Bair and Wachovia Chief Executive Officer Robert
Steel informed Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit of the Wells Fargo deal at 3
a.m. on Oct. 3. Pandit was “stunned” at the news and wanted to counter
the bid, according to the report. Bair declined to help and told the
FCIC she had “concerns” for Citigroup’s “viability” if it matched the
Wells Fargo offer. “In reality, we didn’t know how unstable
Citigroup was at that point,”
Bair said in the report. “Here we were
selling a troubled institution ... with a troubled mortgage portfolio to
another troubled institution.”

Who thought central planning started off so early in America's two year non-stop centrally planned market meltup.

But wait, there's even more...

None of this really matters you see, because as Goldman president Gary Cohn said in Davos today today "the drive to impose more regulation on banks could cause the next crisis by pushing risky activities towards hedge funds and other lightly supervised entities."

“In the next few years, the unregulated sector will grow at an exponential rate,” he said. “Risk is risk. My concern is that ... risk will move from the regulated, more transparent banking sector to a less regulated, more opaque sector.”

One hedge fund manager in Davos dismissed Mr Cohn’s remarks as “self-interested”, however, saying banks use such arguments because they are concerned about losing lucrative business to new entrants.

So why not just let sleeping dogs lie, and let the banks resume being totally unregulated. After all, who knows just how mutually assured the destruction will be if instead of the TBTFs, which as we all know by now will not be allowed to fail until the Keynesian Frankenstein monster is aborted, handling risk, we left those parties who actually are not protected by the ubiquitous Bernanke put proceed without regulation. Because the Fed has bailed out so many hedge funds: who can possibly trust those evil, evil funds with 3x leverage, when the ultra safe banks struggle to make ends meet with $100 million year end bonuses, and revel in the knowledge that nothing bad can ever happen to them?

The crisis is over. And it all now forgotten: time to give banks back their 50x leverage, and restart the securitization machine. Because Netflix at $200, Apple at $400, and BofA at $15 (which these days are the market, and per the Fed's third mandate, also the economy) said so. And lest we forget, we need to raise another $100 trillion in debt in the next 9 years. That isn't going to happen if we don't all place our trust in the House Of Lloyd immediately if not sooner.

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Tapeworm's picture

Mr. Obama didn't mention frauds, so it will not be an issue.

Feck this dump.

SECisONtheTAKEandSOisBERNIEbernankster's picture

Fraud inspires hope! for a little while, until eventually it causes grave loss and life long debilitation// who's got the balls to take some action? Not BHO

jm's picture

No republican on the commission supported the findings.

We need to be fair in abusing the miserable bastards we elect to screw us over day after day.

Don Smith's picture

Can anyone tell me the whereabouts and legal/penal status of AIG's Joe Cassano?  That motherfucker is probably more culpable than anyone in this whole crisis. 

I jest, of course, about the legal status, because of course, he wouldn't have been indicted, but why is that motherfucker still walking the streets? 

Village Idiot's picture

"I jest, of course, about the legal status, because of course, he wouldn't have been indicted, but why is that motherfucker still walking the streets?"

Someone throw up a picture of the guy, he'll be much easier to spot that way .  Hey, are we up to a deck of cards yet?

Village Idiot's picture

i only count twelve.  interesting site, though.  going back in for a closer look.

Village Idiot's picture

"Experience should teach us wisdom. Most of the difficulties our Government now

encounters and most of the dangers which impend over our Union have sprung from an

abandonment of the legitimate objects of Government by our national legislation, and the

adoption of such principles as are embodied in this act. Many of our rich men have not

been content with equal protection and equal benefits, but have besought us to make them

richer by act of Congress. By attempting to gratify their desires we have in the results of

our legislation arrayed section against section, interest against interest, and man against

man, in a fearful commotion which threatens to shake the foundations of our Union. It is

time to pause in our career to review our principles, and if possible revive that devoted

patriotism and spirit of compromise which distinguished the sages of the Revolution and

the fathers of our Union. If we can not at once, in justice to interests vested under

improvident legislation, make our Government what it ought to be, we can at least take a

stand against all new grants of monopolies and exclusive privileges, against any

prostitution of our Government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the

many, and in favor of compromise and gradual reform in our code laws and system of

political economy."


 A portion of...

Andrew Jackson's Veto of the Bank Bill of 1832 (one of the most important and underrated moments in U.S. history)

Seasmoke's picture

andrew jackson is this countrys greatest president

JW n FL's picture

Jackson was illiterate, it was all his speech writter... sorry.

JW n FL's picture

against any

prostitution of our Government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the



Art. Fucking Beautiful!

lynnybee's picture

 " Pictures? You want pictures?  "   bruiserND ...... THANK YOU !!  you made my day !!  My favorite, ROBERT RUBIN, is on that page !   ROBERT RUBIN ....... WHY ISN'T HE IN JAIL ?  or, better yet, maybe a mysterious airplane accident ........Yes, I'm rambling off topic tonight, I get so mad when I even think of ROBERT RUBIN, I JUST WANT TO SLAP THE SHIT OUT OF HIM.

JW n FL's picture
by bruiserND
on Thu, 01/27/2011 - 00:00


Pictures? You want pictures?



The token black guy looks like he could be Reggie's Uncle... no?

Just kidding Reggie Love Ya!

Great Site! JW approved!

Bob's picture
Recognize that those chiefly responsible  for this crisis must return the money they stole from the U.S. tax payer and be tried for the negligent homicide of the U.S. Economy. 
Take a small amount of time to explore the roots of the great Wall Street theft.  You will understand why the "Oracles" of the finance industry, who speak in financial tongues, are not clairvoyant or smarter than you but rather catastrophically short sighted, deceitful and self absorbed.  Learn the language of greed and  prove to yourself that you can spend your money better than the banksters can.  Then demand they return it you
Interesting site indeed.


dick cheneys ghost's picture

god help us all. these crooks will stop at nothing to rape, steal and pillage the whole fucking world. 

Timmay's picture

First the Fat Boys break up, now this......

Village Idiot's picture

Hey, what happened to that not more than 10% of business, business?  OT - Some (probably already coverd) Assange news .


Catch J Man on 60 Minutes, this Sunday.


TruthInSunshine's picture

'60 Minutes,' that hard-hitting journalistic gem?

The one that had Scott Pelley fail to ask a single, intelligent, educated hard question of Bernanke?

...something like "Mr. Bernanke, why are you buying treasuries from primary dealers like Goldman Sachs, and paying commissions of 60 billion per year to do so, when you could be buying them from the Treasury Department directly, at no commission? And is the ex-partner of Goldman Sachs, William Dudley, who is head of the New York Branch of the Federal Reserve, the right person to be making such decisions, given what appears to be a conflict of interest?"

Village Idiot's picture

Agreed.  I just don't think I have the whole story yet. Not that 60 Minutes gives it. I did find their reporting of Resveratrol very interesting, however.  And completely ot.




A quick glance at Wiki suggests that Resveratrol isn't as effective as suggested.  I would have to disagree based on what I've read.  Supposed to subtract approximately 20 years off the human aging process in it's proper synthesized form.  Not the same stuff you can buy OTC.


blindman's picture
E-mails Suggest Bear Stearns Cheated Clients Out of Billions



"Former Bear Stearns mortgage executives who now run mortgage divisions of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Ally Financial have been accused of cheating and defrauding investors through the mortgage securities they created and sold while at Bear. According to e-mails and internal audits, JPMorgan had known about this fraud since the spring of 2008, but hid it from the public eye through legal maneuvering. Last week a lawsuit filed in 2008 by mortgage insurer Ambac Assurance Corp against Bear Stearns and JPMorgan was unsealed. The lawsuit's supporting e-mails, going back as far as 2005, highlight Bear traders telling their superiors they were selling investors like Ambac a "sack of shit.""...


.."The traders were essentially double-dipping -- getting paid twice on the deal. How was this possible? Once the security was sold, they didn't have a legal claim to get cash back from the bad loans -- that claim belonged to bond investors -- but they did so anyway and kept the money. Thus, Bear was cheating the investors they promised to have sold a safe product out of their cash. According to former Bear Stearns and EMC traders and analysts who spoke with The Atlantic, Nierenberg and Verschleiser were the decision-makers for the double dipping scheme, and thus, are named as individual defendants in the suit."


Bear Stearns Nierenberg Doesn’t Think Cheating Emails are a Big Deal

Posted by Teri Buhl under Bank Fraud



"Of course Nierenberg didn’t act alone, Jeff Verschleiser who ran the other half of the Bear trading group, was making sure the bank was also shorting the stocks of the companies they sold products to that were designed to fail. And then bragged in 2007 to his risk committee, run by guys like Ace Greenberg and Waren Specter, that he’d just made double-digit millions off those shorts.

A few months after JP Morgan took over a near bankrupt Bear Stearns, Verschleiser landed in the mortgage department of none other than Goldman Sachs. According to a WSJ blog he even helped his new peers prepare for congressional testimony when it was their turn to defend selling products they thought were shit and designed to lose money."



Village Idiot's picture

Let's just shorten it to, "Bear Stearns Cheated Clients Out of Billions."

I was there.  I saw it.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Breathtaking.

Village Idiot's picture

Yeah...we don't like to talk about that.

JW n FL's picture

will you two stay on fucking page please? its God's Work!

Delmar's picture


I'm sure this is old news to you but there is no prop trading at Goldman.

Misean's picture

If the banksters simply appointed the politicians and regulators (well OK, they already ARE the regulators), could things actually be ANY worse? If that were the case, would any Merikans actually notice?

TruthInSunshine's picture


...Redacted in part. I will repost at a later time...

The Abacus fiasco at Goldman brought this to the forefront of my curiosity. Why wouldn't investors' counsel in the Abacus suit not be speaking of each and every juicy tidbit of what Goldman did, in a very loud, noticeable way, in order to catch a bid in the main stream media reports?

I'm working on a theory that is viable as to why we're not hearing specifics about what Goldman & JP Morgan have done in the way of civil law violations against clients and others from the legal counsel of those bringing suit against these two giants of finance.


alien-IQ's picture

while you (and we) may struggle to find rhyme or reason to the what's and why's of this fiasco, it is quite possible that the simple answer has been flaunted before our very eyes for a long time now but in the belief/hope/delusion that we live in a nation of laws we have failed to see that answer.

And what is that answer? Simple. They are obviously above the law.

Occams Razor: one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.

Village Idiot's picture

No offense but, fuck Occams Razor.  I really don't care if I sound like a broken record.  This is war.

I am a Man I am Forty's picture

in order to get money and settle they may have had to sign a non-disclosure agreement

TruthInSunshine's picture

Aggressive litigators ramp up settlement amounts by tipping off friends in the press as to nasty, nasty details, though.

It's poker, really.

There's something very suspicious about the silence surrounding litigation involving what are large sums of money on Wall Street.

Village Idiot's picture

"The Abacus fiasco at Goldman brought this to the forefront of my curiosity. Why wouldn't investors' counsel in the Abacus suit not be speaking of each and every juicy tidbit of what Goldman did, in a very loud, noticeable way, in order to catch a bid in the main stream media reports?"

Inquiring Minds would like to know.

JW n FL's picture

Lies! ALL!!! LIES!!!!!

It is God's Work and don't Ya'll! Forget!! It!!!

Village Idiot's picture

Have you ever noticed that marijuana has the effect of truth serum? Everybody must get stoned.

- Bob Dylan


EDIT: This post is not a response to the one above.

JW n FL's picture


any time you wanna bag tag me, i would consider it an honor.. you are good people...

Sincerely, JW

P.S. my ex-would be inlaws are in British Columbia... I can get you the best weed, duuuuudeeee!


Village Idiot's picture


I consider it an honor to be recognized by a fine leader such as yourself. Carry on, my man.



Village Idiot's picture

"The BC Bud Depot produces the world's best marijuana seeds with fast and discreet worldwide delivery at reasonable prices. You can order securely online by credit card or with cash or money order payments by mail. We take pride in developing award-winning cannabis seeds and offering the most comprehensive marijuana seed bank worldwide. The BC Bud Depot has been developing the best marijuana seeds for years and every strain we carry has earned a place in our lineup of legendary breeds. Check out some of our most famous Cannabis Cup winning marijuana seeds:"


Sound like a mellow bunch, what happened?  You don't have to answer that.

JW n FL's picture

I am no leader, but I would protect everyone if I could... I got some big shoulders and even if I worked out more.. I still cant do it alone... we need everyone to know what we know.. we need to educate a lazy nation to effect real change..


I want everyone to be happy.. I want everyone to be groovy, really. but the broader populace is just not interested (they arent hungry enough) in anything with regard to real change, until the tit dries up we are screwed. after the tit dries up, we may have a chance to get some people on board... God Willing!

Village Idiot's picture

Yes, the broader populace isn't hungry enough... yet. It's a disgrace really. I still refuse to call them sheep, though.  Many people forget what it feels like to be hungry.  Really quite invigorating.  I do some of my best work hungry.  The human body can actually thrive in starvation  mode, you know.  The human body protects itself in starvation mode.

I am with those of you who are ready and willing to do some heavy lifting.  The world needs to be a groovier place. Lets move ONE idea off the drawing board.  Just one.  Push back.


JW n FL's picture

Preach Brother Village! Preach!!

topcallingtroll's picture

I just knew you had good weed JW.  All cool young lawyers do.

TruthInSunshine's picture

I didn't get a chance to read the response above, because it was zapped into the ether before I could.

I really, really wish we had a refuge for truly free speech, no matter how offensive.

What was the post about, anyways?

Village Idiot's picture

Something about ALL religion(?) being a control device.  He got as far as the Jews.

wretch's picture

We're just gonna have to take this bitch back, then, aren't we?  Rhetoric will only get us so far, but I'm pretty confident that state bankruptcies and attendant pensioner failures-to-eat, along with the anger of school loan debt-strapped unemployed graduates with nothing left to lose, will precipitate some violence in the streets.


There.  That's my best attempt to copy (this) Tyler's penchant for stretching the limits of sentence stability.

topcallingtroll's picture

then let's take the bitch back.  unplug from the borg and join us.

Village Idiot's picture

Nice work.  And still air left in the lungs. :-)