Goldman Sachs becomes first Wall Street bank to leave Russia

Goldman Sachs becomes first Wall Street bank to leave Russia
Goldman Sachs is one of the most active investment banks in Russia. / Image: HBS Digital Initiative.
By bne IntelIiNews March 10, 2022

Investment bank Goldman Sachs will close operations in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions, the bank told clients in an email statement on March.

“Goldman Sachs is winding down its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements. We are focused on supporting our clients across the globe in managing or closing out pre-existing obligations in the market and ensuring the well-being of our people,” the statement said.

However, the bank will continue to act as a platform for clients to trade Russian corporate debt.

The various businesses of Goldman Sachs have had an active presence in the Russian market recently. It is the biggest bank for M&A and ECM underwriting, for example, according to research by financial markets platform Dealogic.

Earlier this year, the firm revealed that it had a credit exposure to Russia of around $650mn.

This follows news that the “Big Four” accountancy firms – EY, KPMG, PwC, and Deloitte – will cut ties with their Russian and Belarussian arms, disassociating themselves from a cumulative 15,000 employees.

Goldman Sachs cited regulatory and compliance difficulties for its exit, meaning it is likely that other Wall Street banks will follow suit. The scale of western companies quitting Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine is unprecedented: it is little short of a de-coupling of Russia’s market from the global economy. Bloomberg Economics estimates that the Russian economy will shrink by 9% in 2022, but that figure is likely to increase as the exodus from Russian markets continues.