Contact Us

Internal Merger Means Goldman Could Start Raising Real Estate Funds Again


Goldman Sachs has merged four different internal departments to create an asset management division with about $140B of assets under management — and it is likely to start raising funds to buy property assets for the first time since the financial crisis.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Goldman is merging its merchant banking division, its special situations group, its fintech startup investment division and some of its asset management business. The rationale is to create an alternative asset management division that brings in steady, regular income of the kind provided by listed private equity firms like Blackstone, Brookfield or KKR.

Goldman’s merchant banking and asset management division invest in property, and last year PERE said the firm had invested about $10B of its own money in real estate since 2011. It has typically made these investments combining the bank’s balance sheet with joint venture partners for specific deals. The merchant banking division also manages two real estate debt funds raised in 2013.

But the firm has not raised large, commingled funds from clients that buy assets directly since before the financial crisis. The funds it raised in the pre-crash boom, managed under the Whitehall brand, were among the highest-profile casualties of the real estate downturn, losing a lot of their equity because they made big, highly leveraged bets in sectors like casinos and hotels.

The bank suffered along with its clients: The company and its staff typically provided as much as a third of the equity for the funds. In future that won’t happen — new financial regulations mean that banks can’t invest large amounts of capital in the funds they manage.

Goldman could begin raising equity for a new real estate fund this year, according to the Journal. Julian Salisbury, previously head of Goldman’s special situations group, will oversee real estate activities, Bloomberg reports