In its latest 10-K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says that its “reasonably possible” losses from legal claims may be as high as $3.4 billion. The investment bank’s admission comes after the SEC told corporate finance chiefs that the should disclose losses “when there is at least a reasonable possibility” they may be incurred regardless of whether the risk is so low that reserves are not required.
Goldman admits that it hasn’t put side a “significant” amount of funds against such possible losses and its estimate doesn’t factor in possible losses for cases that are in their beginning stages. The $3.4 billion figure comes from a calculation of three categories of possible liability. Also factored in were the number of securities sold in cases where purchasers of a deal underwritten by Goldman Sachs are now suing the financial firm and cases involving parties calling for Goldman Sachs to repurchase securities.
Between 2009 and 2010, the financial firm reported a 38% decline in net income from $13.4 billion to $8.35 billion. Trading revenue dropped while non-compensation expenses, which were affected by regulatory proceedings and litigation, went up 14%. It was just last year that the investment bank paid $550 million to settle SEC charges that it misled investors when selling a mortgage-linked investment in 2007. Goldman Sachs is still contending with state and federal securities complaints alleging improper disclosure related to mortgage-related products. As of the end of 2010, estimated plaintiffs’ aggregate cumulative losses in active cases against Goldman Sachs was at approximately $457 million.
Related Web Resources:
Goldman Sachs Puts ‘Possible’ Legal Losses at $3.4 Billion, Bloomberg Businessweek, March 1, 2011
Form 10-K, SEC
Worst-Case Scenario Losses for JP Morgan & Chase May Be As High as $4.5 Billion, Institutional Investors Securities Blog, February 28, 2011
Goldman Sachs Settles SEC Subprime Mortgage-CDO Related Charges for $550 Million, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, July 30, 2010