Goldman’s Hedge Funds Business A Bright Spot In Down Year

CNN Money – Hedge funds may be struggling and closing up shop in the current market environment, but Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) was able to make more money tending to the funds’ needs this year than last.

The company, which on Tuesday reported its first quarterly loss since it went public a decade ago, was able to post a 19% gain in revenue in its securities services operations for the three months that ended Nov. 28, compared to the same period last year. The business also turned in record net revenues for all of fiscal 2008 at a time when Goldman’s normally high-octane trading and principal investing line was down by 71% for the year.

Goldman’s security services business is dominated by its prime brokerage operations, whose clientele comes primarily from hedge funds. Competitor Morgan Stanley (MS), which runs a similar prime brokerage business that turned in record net revenues last quarter, reports its earnings on Wednesday.

Though hedge funds have been hard-hit by customer redemptions and market losses, Goldman was able to generate more revenue this year because its securities services business mix became more profitable, Chief Financial Officer David Viniar told analysts during a conference call.

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