America's Top 20 Bank Holding Companies

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. ranks fifth on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) list, with assets totaling $951,217,000, as of March 2012. They are well behind fourth ranked Wells Fargo, but ahead of Metlife, who ranks sixth.

Goldman Sachs was founded by German immigrant, Marcus Goldman, in 1869. During the 1880s two sons-in-law and one son joined him in the company and their current name, Goldman Sachs & Co., was taken. In 1896 they joined the New York Stock Exchange. 1906 saw them offer the IPO of Sears, Roebuck and Company, one of the largest ever offered. The firm was influential in helping to establish the IPO market in America.

In 1928 they opened the Goldman Sachs Trading Corporation fund which later failed in the following year's stock market crash and tarnished their previously good reputation. The 1930s saw the company move into investment banking which improved their reputation.

Much expansion of the business took place during the 1970s when they opened their first London office in 1970. Private wealth divisions and fixed income divisions were established in 1972.

In 1981 Goldman Sachs acquired J. Aron & Company and merged it with Goldman's Fixed Income division. The merger created a new division named the Fixed Income, Currencies, and Commodities division since the acquired firm was a commodities trading firm. 1986 was a big year for the company; it saw the formation of the Goldman Sachs Asset Management division, joined both the Tokyo and London stock exchanges and became the first United States bank to be listed in the top ten list of mergers in the United Kingdom. They also made history by being the first bank to use technology to send out its investment research.

In 1994 they opened their Beijing office and created the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index. After offering the IPOs for dozens of companies throughout their history, in 1999 Goldman finally offered approximately 12% of the company shares to be bought by the public. During the same year, they also took over Hull Trading Company, a marketing firm. The following year, 2000, they purchased Spear, Leeds, & Kellogg. Goldman Sachs' Brazil full-service broker office was opened in 2007. They weathered the end of the decade's financial crisis by having the foresight to sell off, and profit from, many of their sub-prime loans. Near the end of 2008, the investment bank became a traditional bank, along with competitor Morgan Stanley.

Goldman Sachs' global headquarters are located in the Lower Manhattan section of New York City. London and Hong Kong are home to their European and Asian headquarters, respectively. Other major office locations include Tokyo, Bangalore and Salt Lake City.

Having headquarters in prominent financial centers is important to the company's success as a top-five bank. Being in close proximity to Wall Street helps it to be a top deal maker on Wall Street. Banking is a mainstay of the city's economy and their location in Manhattan puts them in a advantageous position, near their partners and competitors.