Goldman Sachs is 'very open' to acquisitions: CFO

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) Chief Financial Officer Stephen Scherr said on Tuesday the bank is “very open” to acquisitions that can help the bank fill gaps or help speed up growth of certain businesses.

“”We’re … very open to the proposition of acquisitions that fill gaps or accelerate elements of our growth plan,” Scherr said at a conference that was taking place over conference calls and via webcast, rather than in-person, due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

There has been wide investor speculation about Goldman’s appetite and ability to do mergers or acquisitions since rival Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley (MS.N) announced plans to buy discount broker E*Trade (ETFC.O) last month.

Goldman Chief Executive David Solomon has set ambitious targets for the bank to grow its fledgling online consumer bank, Marcus, its credit card business and cash management platform. But industry insiders are skeptical that it can grow quickly without doing a deal.

Scherr also touched on the coronavirus and its impact on the bank’s day-to-day operations and markets.

He said the bank currently has no known cases of coronavirus among its staff, but that it continues to roll out precautionary measures, including splitting teams up to work at separate locations and having some staff work from home on a rotating basis.

In terms of the markets, Scherr said the bank the bank is monitoring risk, across all sectors, and has seen a “reduction broadly in liquidity” and some challenges in the “cost of funding,” but that there are no major signs right now that corporate clients are under stress.

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