May 31, 2018 / 6:43 PM / 6 months ago

Goldman says market activity ebbs in second quarter

David M. Solomon, President and Chief Operating Officer, Goldman Sachs, speaks at the Milken Institute's 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) President David Solomon said on Thursday that second-quarter market activity had decreased from the first quarter, when heightened volatility helped Wall Street banks record huge profits.

The comment comes two days after JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) said second-quarter markets revenue looked like it will be flat compared with a year earlier.

Investors have questioned the viability of Wall Street banks’ trading business, which saw big declines last year as volatility mired near historically low levels.

The backlash from the investing community has forced Goldman and others to rethink their strategy, and explore businesses such as investment banking and consumer lending, which are not heavily reliant on market activity.

Activity across investment banking is robust, Solomon said at a Bernstein conference in New York on Thursday, adding that the investment banking backlog was close to an all-time high.

IPO activity, particularly in the United States and China’s tech sector, was starting to pick up, Solomon said. Investment banks make big bucks on underwriting initial public offerings and providing financial counsel.

Solomon also emphasized on growth in its consumer banking business, and said the bank was building a digital finance platform to meet consumer demand and connect customers to other parts of its businesses. However, he added that Goldman did not have to be one of the “big leading consumer banks”.

“We could have a narrow slice of share and have a very big, very profitable, very differentiated business over a period of time,” Solomon said.

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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