Washington is abuzz over whether ratings agencies will downgrade the U.S. government's credit ratings. But on a call with analysts Tuesday, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. chief financial officer David Viniar demurred on the topic, saying only that "I just hope that it gets resolved." He said he believed regulators were trying to "get things right and do things that are going to protect the financial system going forward."
Michael Carrier, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, asked if Goldman was considering spinning off or restructuring any key business units to deal with new regulations.
Replied Viniar: "We've talked before. There were two businesses we had that we knew we were not going to be able to operate under the Volcker Rules, those being two prop (proprietary trading) businesses."
But, he added: "There is no other business that we think ... we won't be able to operate. Some will have to be smaller. Some will have to be different. In our merchant banking business, we know that we won't be able to have more than 3% equity in any of the private equity funds."
"We still think that's going to be a really good business for Goldman Sachs," Viniar said.