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Goldman Sachs Plans to Undo Another Solomon Deal Chasing Mass Market

The acquisition was part of a plan to broaden the firm’s revenue beyond a traditional focus on ultra-wealthy individuals.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is exploring a sale of an investment-advisory business it bought four years ago, undoing another signature deal under Chief Executive Officer David Solomon’s ill-fated push to manage money for a broader set of customers.

The bank is looking to sell the personal financial management business, which oversees about $29 billion in assets and grew out of United Capital, a California-based registered investment adviser Goldman purchased for $750 million in 2019. The acquisition was part of Solomon’s plan to broaden the firm’s revenue beyond a traditional focus on ultra-wealthy individuals. 

“We are currently evaluating alternatives for that business as we determine where to invest our resources and where we see the greatest opportunity,” the New York-based bank said in an emailed statement Monday. 

Shares in the bank were down 0.3% at 9:41 a.m. in New York.

While it’s a small part of Goldman’s wealth offering, the unit symbolized the earlier effort by Solomon to expand the firm’s business lines which are now being unwound. The purchase of United, founded in 2005 by Spanish-born, Zimbabwe-raised entrepreneur Joe Duran, gave Goldman an instant footprint in the so-called mass affluent market. At the time of the deal, United had 220 advisers and $25 billion in assets. 

Goldman has more than 16,000 clients and $1 trillion of assets under supervision in its ultra-high-net-worth wealth-management unit, which houses United. The bank has pegged a key chunk of its growth plan on boosting its asset and wealth management business as it dismantled its retail effort after the once-ambitious foray racked up losses faster than it anticipated. 

The bank also has been pursuing a sale of GreenSky just over a year after it completed that acquisition, another sign of how dramatically management has backtracked on its strategy.

The potential sale was reported last week by Citywire and RIABiz.

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