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笔译:高盛盛况不再

2014-10-22    来源:财富中文网    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

笔译:高盛盛况不再

笔译:一份最新的业绩分析显示,高盛昔日王者地位已不再。这家华尔街传奇公司如何才能重现往日辉煌?

Goldman Sachs enjoys a mystique rivaling the élan of the New York Yankees. It’s the classiest name in the financial leagues; a sterling organization that may disappoint now and then, but whose heavy hitters you shouldn’t bet against; and the ultimate improviser in finding fresh ways to make money.
和纽约洋基队(New York Yankees)一样,高盛(Goldman Sachs)公司也是一个传奇。它是金融界最响亮的名号;虽然偶尔会让人失望,但这支明星团队战绩彪炳;而且它总能发掘出新的捞金手段。

Right now, the fabled 145-year old investment bank is leading the news on Wall Street. For good or ill, Goldman remains an object of intense fascination. It’s getting pounded in the press over a whistleblower’s charges that it received special treatment from regulators at the New York Fed. According to a story on the public interest website ProPublica, Fed officials were so intimidated by the Goldman brass that they failed to block transactions that were as suspicious as they were lucrative—allegations Goldman vehemently denies. At the same time, Goldman recently confirmed its stature by overseeing early trading for Alibaba’s historic IPO.
现在,这家拥有145年历史的老字号投资银行成了华尔街的新闻焦点。无论新闻是正面还是负面,高盛依然牢牢吸引着人们的关注。有检举人指控高盛在纽约联储(New York Fed)获得了监管机构的特殊待遇,导致该公司遭到媒体的口诛笔伐。公众利益网站ProPublica的一篇报道则称,屈从于高盛的强大势力,联储官员未能阻止一些利润巨大的可疑交易,但是高盛对此则极力否认。与此同时,该公司最近监管了阿里巴巴(Alibaba)历史性IPO的早期交易,再次证明了自己的地位。

But how good, really, is Goldman Sachs? An analysis of its recent performance reveals that, for the present at least, Goldman is nowhere near the champion of old. Its record ranks somewhere between pretty good and mediocre. Its businesses, and the environment in which it operates, have shifted dramatically, and not in Goldman’s favor. The kind of adventurous investments that once swelled its earnings are now off-limits.
但是现在的高盛到底有多好?最近一次的业绩分析显示,至少从目前来看,高盛往日的王者地位已不再,它的业绩仅属于中等偏上。高盛的业务及其经营环境已经发生重大转变,并且局势对高盛不利。曾经刺激其利润大幅飙升的冒险性投资现在已成为禁区。

“In contrast to the past, they’re being extremely conservative in the way they’re managing, and it will take a couple of years to see how they adapt to the new environment,” says Keith Davis, a portfolio manager with Farr, Miller & Washington, which holds $20 million in Goldman shares.
“和过去相比,他们现在的管理方式非常保守,还要等几年才能知道他们对新环境适应的怎么样。”投资管理公司Farr, Miller & Washington的基金经理基思•戴维斯说道。该公司持有价值2,000万美元的高盛股份。

The fear is that Goldman has run out of moves.
人们担心的是,高盛已经招数用尽。

Goldman’s path forward is restricted by two barriers. First, its main franchise is now trading, a business that, for the time being, isn’t terribly profitable. The dominance of trading—making markets in stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies—represents a sharp break with the past. In 2000, 60% of its sales came from advising on mergers and acquisitions, raising money for corporations, and asset management. In 2013, those high-margin businesses accounted for just 37% of Goldman’s $34 billion in revenues. So the mix is now tilted toward a field that’s depressed, where a long-awaited rebound just isn’t happening.
高盛未来的前进道路面临两大障碍。首先,现在它主要的特许经营业务是交易,就当下来说,这是一项不太暴利的业务。交易,即买卖股票、债券、大宗商品和外汇,这项业务的比重与过去相比陡然上升。在2000年时,高盛有60%的销售额来自兼并和收购咨询、企业融资和资产管理。而到了2013年,这些高利润的业务在高盛共计340亿美元的营收中仅占37%。该混合业务结构目前看来使高盛业绩表现低迷,众人期待已久的反弹并未出现。

Second, Goldman has traditionally generated big profits from “principal investments,” using its own capital to trade in and out of stocks, take ownership positions in companies, and invest in private equity and hedge funds. The Volcker Rule, a pillar of the Dodd-Frank banking reform legislation, bans proprietary trading and severely restricts the investments banks can make. This formerly lucrative channel is now mostly closed to Goldman.
其次,过去高盛大部分的利润都来自“自营投资”,即利用银行自有资金买卖股票,收购公司,以及投资私募和对冲基金。然而,多德弗兰克(Dodd-Frank)银行改革法案的主要规定“沃克尔法则”(Volcker Rule)禁止自营交易,同时严格限制银行投资。对高盛来说,这条原本利润丰厚的赚钱渠道目前已基本关闭。

As a result, Goldman’s profitability has suffered. From 2005 to 2007, Goldman delivered a spectacular return on equity of, on average, 28.4%. Since then, the bank has enjoyed just one excellent year. That was 2009, when markets began to thaw after the financial crisis and investors dumped bonds en masse, handing Goldman both huge volumes of trades and fantastic margins, or “spreads,” on those trades. Since 2012, its ROE has dropped to an average of 10.5% to 11%.
结果就是,高盛的盈利能力遭到重创。2005至2007年间,高盛的平均净资产收益率高达28.4%。之后,该行只有一年表现出色,那就是2009年,当时市场在金融危机后开始解冻,投资者纷纷抛售债券,给高盛带来巨大交易量和惊人的利润(或者说是这些交易中的“息差”)。自2012年以来,它的净资产收益率均值已经降至10.5%至11%。

Still, that’s not bad. A major reason for the decline: new regulations have forced all banks to lower their leverage. Goldman used to support $20 in assets with every dollar of equity; today, a dollar in net worth backs just $10.50 in assets. That’s a good thing, since it should smooth the big swings in returns caused by high levels of debt. An ROE in the 10% to 11% range also looks good in a period where investors pocket just 2.5% on 10-year Treasury bonds. And Goldman’s ROE compares favorably to its rivals. Though it trails Wells Fargo (13.6%) and US Bancorp (12%), it waxes JP Morgan (8.3%), Citigroup (6.7%), and Morgan Stanley (6.5%).
不过,这也还不算坏。下降的主要原因是新的法规要求所有银行降低杠杆。高盛过去每一美元的股本可支持20美元的资产;现在一美元的净值只能支持10.50美元的资产。这是好事,因为它可以减轻高负债水平造成的巨大回报波动。在一个投资10年期美国国债只能获得2.5%收益率的时期,10%至11%的净资产收益率看起来也不错。而且高盛的净资产收益率和竞争对手相比仍有优势。虽然不及富国银行(Wells Fargo,净资产收益率13.6%)和美国合众银行(US Bancorp,净资产收益率12%),但是明显优于摩根大通(JP Morgan,净资产收益率8.3%)、花旗银行(Citigroup,净资产收益率6.7%)和摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley,净资产收益率6.5%)。

For Goldman, the challenge is that an 11% ROE may be acceptable for now, but it will be far from adequate once interest rates rise. With treasuries back at their historic norms of 4% or 5%, and highly rated corporate bonds offering a couple of points more, investors will want better things from the likes of Goldman. Its profits, dominated by trading, are still vulnerable to sharp declines. In 2011, for example, Goldman earned a puny ROE of 3.6%. By contrast, the big banks can practically guarantee large increases in profits and ROE as interest rates increase. When that happens, they’ll benefit handsomely from the rising spread between the low-cost deposits and the rates on their mortgages and corporate loans.
对高盛来说,挑战在于:虽然11%的净资产收益率目前尚可接受,但一旦美国利率上调,这就远远不够了。当美国国债回到4%或5%的历史标准收益率水平,高评级的公司债券也又多上涨了几个百分点,那时投资者就会希望能从高盛这些投资银行获得更好的回报。高盛的利润主要来自于交易,这一块仍很容易遭遇急遽下滑。例如在2011年,高盛的净资产收益率就仅有3.6%。相比之下,随着利率上调,其他大银行基本可以确保利润和净资产收益率大幅增长。如果加息,他们将可以在低成本存款和抵押贷款、以及公司贷款利率的息差扩大中获得丰厚利润。

It would bolster confidence if Goldman’s numbers were headed in the right direction. They’re not. Goldman is having difficulty finding profitable places to reinvest its earnings. It has essentially admitted as much by re-purchasing $12.2 billion in its own shares since 2011. But it’s still investing much of its earnings in the businesses, and those fresh investments are garnering sub-par returns. Since 2005, its common equity base has increased from $23.5 billion to $74.4 billion, an increase of $51 billion. But over those eight years, it’s added just $3.25 billion in earnings. So the return on newly added equity is a mere 6.4%.
如果高盛的收益率能够上涨,将大大提振市场的信心。但是事实却恰恰相反。高盛很难找到利润丰厚的领域进行再投资。实际上,该公司承认自2011年以来回购了高达122亿美元的股份。不过,仍然有相当一部分收入投入到各项业务上,这些新鲜的投资产生的回报差强人意。自2005年以来,其普通股的基数从235亿美元增加到744亿美元,增幅为510亿美元。但是这八年里,高盛的盈利仅增加了32.5亿美元。所以,新增股本的回报仅为6.4%。

Nor is the recent story reassuring. In the 12 months from June 2013 to June 2014, Goldman added $1.6 billion in capital. Its 12-month trailing earnings during that period, however, declined from $8.4 billion to $7.6 billion. So its ROE, driven by higher capital and lower profits, actually dropped from 11.8% to just over 10.6%.
最近的情况同样让人担心。从2013年6月到2014年6月这12个月里,高盛的股本增加了16亿美元,而同期,该公司的盈利则从84亿美元跌至76亿美元。由于股本增加而利润下滑,其净资产收益率从11.8%跌到了10.6%。

These sluggish returns have been weighed down by Goldman’s primary franchise, trading. Today, Goldman holds an inventory of around $350 billion in securities that it has purchased from clients, and seeks to resell, at the widest margins possible. From 2008 to 2010, Goldman earned an average of 3.8% on its trading book. But since 2011, the margin has dwindled to a slender 1.2% to 1.3%.
高盛的主营交易业务令疲弱的回报雪上加霜。目前,高盛从客户手中购买的库存股约为3,500亿美元,该公司力求以最大的利润率转售。2008年至2010年,高盛的交易账户平均回报为3.8%。但是自2011年以来,利润率严重缩水到1.2%至1.3%。

The problem is basic: That inventory isn’t “turning over” nearly as fast as it used to, because hedge funds, mutual funds, and other clients have slowed the pace of their trading. Nor are spreads nearly as rich as in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
问题很简单:库存的“周转”无法达到以前的水平,因为对冲基金、共同基金和其他客户的交易均已放缓。息差也无法达到金融危机之后的水平。

To return to its glory days, Goldman will need to generate far higher returns on that trading book. That’s the ticket to driving returns on equity to heights that would prove alluring in the coming, rising-rate environment of tomorrow.
要重现往昔的辉煌,高盛需要大幅提升其交易账户的回报。这是推升净资产收益率,从而在未来加息的环境中抢占优势的关键。

In its 2013 proxy statement, Goldman revealed that it has set a 12% ROE target for a full payout on its long-term compensation plan. That’s an increase from just 10%, a surprisingly modest goal for such a hard-charging management team. But to reach even 12%, Goldman still has a ways to go.
在2013年的股东委托书中,高盛设定了12%的净资产收益率目标,以能够完全支付公司的长期薪酬方案。这一比例仅略微高于之前的10%,对于高盛强硬的管理层来说,这个目标可以说是非常卑微。但是,即便是12%,对于高盛来说也不容易。

“The 12% target is still a low bar,” says Davis. “I’m thinking 14% to 16% is where they should be.” He believes Goldman will get there. “If they can’t get to a 15% ROE in a business, they’ll get out of it,” he says. “It will take them a couple of years to get through it. If anyone can figure it out, they can.”
“12%的目标仍然是很低的。”戴维斯说,“我认为应该是14%到16%。”他相信高盛可以达到目标。“如果某项业务达不到15%的净资产收益率,他们可能就会放弃这块。这可能需要好几年的时间才能理顺。但是,如果其他人能找到出路,那么他们也能。”

Indeed, when interest rates rise, trading could explode as investors pile into bonds. That trend would produce what Goldman needs most: A jump in turnover and margins in its big securities portfolio. Goldman fans also argue that because of the new capital requirements, big banks have exited fixed income, currency, and commodities trading. Hence, Goldman could find itself in a more commanding position than at any time in its recent history.
事实上,如果利率上调,投资者会涌向债券市场,交易可能会暴增。这一趋势正是高盛所急需的:增加周转率,并且大型的证券投资组合利润上扬。高盛的支持者们还提出,美国新的银行资本充足率要求,导致大银行已退出固定收益、外汇和大宗商品交易。所以,高盛可能会发现它在这些领域可以“一览众山小”。

That scenario is certainly possible. It’s also possible that bond trading, Goldman’s strength, could go the way of market making in equities. Once highly lucrative, stock trading has become a low-margin, commoditized field executed on electronic platforms. New banking regulations mandate that derivatives go electronic as well. If the opaque bond market becomes more, rather than less, competitive, Goldman will fail to restore its once-sovereign profitability. If fixed income booms again—and especially if Goldman emerges as the unchallenged king of bond trading—it will be on the road to a great restoration. Think of it as the Yankees capturing yet another World Series.
这种情况完全有可能发生。另外的一个变数是,高盛占据优势的债券交易业务可能会重蹈股票交易的覆辙。股票交易业务曾经极为赚钱,但是现在已经沦为在电子平台执行的低利润率商品化交易。新的银行规定要求衍生品也进行电子交易。如果不透明的债券市场的竞争因此有增无减,高盛将难以保住过去的一流盈利能力。但是,如果固定收益市场盛景再现,尤其是高盛如果能杀出重围,成为债券交易界无可匹敌的霸主,那么这将是一条引领其走向伟大复兴的道路。这就好比洋基队在世界职业棒球大赛(World Series)中再一次扬眉吐气。(财富中文网)

Vocabulary:

mystique n. 奥秘,秘诀;神秘性

intimidated adj. 害怕的;受到恐吓的

lucrative adj. 有利可图的,赚钱的;合算的

proprietary adj. 所有的;专利的;私人拥有的

leverage n. 手段,影响力;杠杆作用;杠杆效率/ v. 利用;举债经营



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