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特朗普给高盛带来契机

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When Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs’ chairman and chief executive, arrived at the Rayburn building on Capitol Hill in late 2010, he was battered and bruised. At the time his bank was viewed as a vivid example of Wall Street misbehaviour. In the previous months it had been sued by regulators, flayed by lawmakers then damaged by the passage of Dodd-Frank, a law that would curtail its freedom in the name of preventing another financial crisis.

2010年末,当高盛(Goldman Sachs)董事长兼首席执行官劳尔德贝兰克梵(Lloyd Blankfein)抵达美国国会雷伯恩(Rayburn)办公大楼时,他很受伤。他执掌的这家银行当时被视为华尔街不当行为的生动例证。之前几个月,该银行被监管机构起诉,遭到立法者批评,接着又因《多德-弗兰克法》(Dodd-Frank Act)通过而受损,该法将以防范另一场金融危机为名,限制该行的自由。
Mr Blankfein was going to meet its co-author Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the House’s financial services committee. Goldman Sachs had concerns over the new oversight regime, but it could not afford to look intransigent. “I’m for smart regulation,” Mr Blankfein said in the private encounter, trying to sound co-operative. “And I’m for fucking dumb regulation,” Mr Frank replied sarcastically.
贝兰克梵是来会晤该法的起草人之一、马萨诸塞州民主党人、众议院金融服务委员会主席巴尼弗兰克(Barney Frank)。高盛对这种新的监督机制感到担忧,但不能表现出态度顽固。“我支持明智的监管,”贝兰克梵在那个不公开会议上时表示,试图表现出一种愿意合作的态度。弗兰克讽刺地回答:“我支持愚蠢透了的监管。”
If the Obama years were a harsh time for Goldman in Washington, the election of Donald Trump has provided a new opening. Not only does the president regularly rail against “job-killing regulations”, he has made two Goldman alumni his point men on financial regulation. Gary Cohn, Mr Blankfein’s former deputy, heads the national economic council, while Steven Mnuchin, once its chief information officer, is Treasury secretary.
如果说奥巴马执政时期让高盛在华盛顿的日子变得难过的话,那么唐纳德特朗普(Donald Trump)当选带来了一个新的开端。特朗普不仅批评“扼杀就业的监管规定”,还让两位高盛人担任金融监管领域的排头兵:贝兰克梵的前副手加里科恩(Gary Cohn)现在担任国家经济委员会主席,曾在高盛担任首席信息官的史蒂文姆努钦(Steven Mnuchin)现任财政部长。
The new team in Washington could not have come at a more important time for Goldman. The bank that received a $10bn bailout from US taxpayers in 2008 is looking to the Trump administration for another helping hand, this time from what Goldman sees as overbearing regulation exacerbating its current trading funk.
华盛顿新团队出现的时机对于高盛而言再重要不过了。2008年从美国纳税人获得100亿美元纾困资金的该行,正希望特朗普政府再次伸出援手,这一次的“问题”是在高盛看来让人受不了的监管,这种监管加剧了该行目前的交易困境。
For years the main engine of the Goldman money machine has been trading securities, the division where Mr Blankfein and Mr Cohn won their spurs. It remains one of its biggest revenue streams, but is misfiring. Part of the blame lies with traders who made bad calls this year. But its predicament goes deeper. Post-crisis regulation has curtailed the operation. In 2007 the bank’s net trading revenue from bonds, currencies and commodities peaked at $16.2bn. Last year, notwithstanding some reorganisation, the rough equivalent was $7.6bn. Goldman’s trading business is a shadow of its former self, albeit still highly profitable.
多年来,高盛赚钱机器的主要引擎一直是证券交易,这是贝兰克梵和科恩赢得声望的部门。它现在仍是最大收入流之一,但正遭遇困境。这在一定程度上归咎于交易员今年做出糟糕判断。但困境的根源更为深刻。危机后监管妨碍了这项业务。2007年,高盛来自债券、外汇和大宗商品的净交易收入达到162亿美元的峰值。去年,虽然有一些重组的影响,但是大致对应的收入为76亿美元。高盛的交易业务已大不如往昔,尽管仍然非常赚钱。
The main culprit in Goldman’s eyes is the Volcker rule, a ban on banks placing market bets with their own money. The idea of banning so-called proprietary trading — conceived by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker — was a centrepiece of former president Barack Obama’s efforts to build a bulwark against future crises requiring public bailouts. But the prohibition’s final form, which stretched to 964 pages of regulation, has been criticised by banks as muddled and overly complex. They blame it for inhibiting market making activity that was meant to be permitted.
高盛眼中的主要罪魁祸首是“沃尔克规则”(Volcker rule),即禁止银行使用自有资金在市场操盘。禁止所谓的自营交易的想法——由美联储(Fed)前主席保罗沃尔克(Paul Volcker)提出——是前总统巴拉克奥巴马(Barack Obama)建设堡垒防范需要公众纾困的未来危机举措的核心。但禁令的最终形式(长达964页的法规)受到各银行的批评,称其混乱且过于复杂,扼杀了本该允许的做市活动。
Mr Blankfein described the Volcker rule this month as “very cumbersome”, complaining “you have people sitting on trading desks very nervous”. Other Goldman insiders are more blunt in private, attacking Volcker as a noose tailored for the bank’s throat.
贝兰克梵上月称,沃尔克规则“极为繁重”,他抱怨称,它“让坐在交易桌前的人们非常紧张”。其他高盛内部人士私下里更不客气,批评沃尔克规则就是想要了高盛的命。
Goldman declined to discuss its lobbying, but says: “As many of the regulators who implemented the [Volcker] rule have conceded, now is an appropriate time to review the rule.” The Financial Times has assembled a picture of its efforts from interviews with more than four dozen policymakers, bankers, lobbyists and lawyers. They describe an aggressive institution pushing to regain its trading edge by having Volcker watered down, if not abolished.
高盛拒绝讨论其游说活动,但表示:“正如实施(沃尔克)规则的很多监管者所承认的那样,是时候重估这项规则。”英国《金融时报》根据对近50位政策制定者、银行家、游说者和律师的采访,梳理出了高盛的努力。据他们介绍,该行正咄咄逼人地推动削弱——甚至废止——沃尔克规则,以便重新获得交易优势。
The bank is “all over it”, says a Treasury official. “Their single focus this year, more than any other bank, is the Volcker rule,” says the Washington chief of a rival institution. Dennis Kelleher of Better Markets, which advocates tougher regulation, says: “Goldman has always been the big swashbuckling trader that wants to take huge risks and huge leverage for the big score.”
美国财政部一位官员表示,高盛正“全力投入这件事”。“他们今年的单一焦点就是沃尔克规则,超过其他任何银行,”某家竞争对手的华盛顿主管表示。提倡加强监管的Better Markets的丹尼斯凯莱赫(Dennis Kelleher)表示,“高盛一直是霸气凌厉的大型交易商,希望为了赚大钱而承担巨大风险和巨大杠杆。”
Mr Blankfein says he is “barely” in touch with his former colleagues Mr Cohn and Mr Mnuchin, claiming in June to be “apprehensive” about how it might look. But Goldman has cause to hope Washington will come to its rescue.
贝兰克梵表示,他“很少”接触他的前同事科恩和姆努钦,他曾在6月表示,对这样的接触会给外界留下的印象感到“担心”。但高盛有理由期待华盛顿向它伸出援手。
When Mr Trump fired the gun on Wall Street deregulation this year Mr Cohn said “we’re not going to burden the banks with literally hundreds of billions of dollars of regulatory costs every year”. In June, Mr Mnuchin’s Treasury department unveiled a regulatory review whose bank-friendly recommendations included “substantial amendment” to the Volcker rule.
当特朗普今年表态要开始对华尔街解除管制时,科恩表示:“我们不会让银行背上每年数千亿美元的监管成本负担。”6月,姆努钦领导的财政部公布了一份监管审议报告,其对银行友好的建议包括“大量修改”沃尔克规则。
Randal Quarles, Mr Trump’s nominee to be the Fed’s regulatory chief, said last month that “the complexity of the rule makes it very difficult to apply and [we] should work to try to simplify [it]”.
特朗普提名的美联储监管负责人兰德尔夸尔斯(Randal Quarles)曾在7月表示:“该规则的复杂性使其很难实施,我们应该努力简化它。”
But there are reasons to be cautious, too. So far not a single significant regulation has been changed. White House turmoil has slowed the confirmation of Trump appointees at the main US watchdogs. Goldman is straining relations with its rivals and its critics are ultra-vigilant for any sign of a “Government Sachs” plot.
但也有理由保持谨慎。到目前为止,还没有一项重大法规得到修改。白宫的动荡拖延了对特朗普在美国主要监管机构任命官员的确认。高盛与其竞争对手的关系开始紧张,其批评者对“高盛政府”(Government Sachs)的任何征兆都格外警惕。
Goldman Sachs and the Trump campaign were never natural bedfellows. Mr Trump’s final campaign video scorned the robber barons of the global elite as it displayed an image of Mr Blankfein. A tweet from the Goldman boss on Monday, interpreted by many as a comparison between the shadow cast by the solar eclipse and the Trump administration, hinted at the tensions. The head of its Washington office is a Democrat named Michael Paese, who leads a team of eight in-house lobbyists and oversaw lobbying spending of $1.4m in the first half of this year, compared with $3.2m for 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. His boss is John Rogers, Goldman’s chief of staff, an earnest man from the Republican party establishment, which Mr Trump derides.
高盛和特朗普竞选阵营从来不是特别有缘的伙伴。特朗普最终的竞选视频在展示贝兰克梵照片的同时,鄙斥全球精英是强盗式资本家。高盛老板最近发表的一条推文被许多人解读为,他将日食投下的阴影比作特朗普政府,暗示了双方之间的紧张关系。高盛华盛顿办事处负责人迈克尔佩斯(Michael Paese)是一名民主党人,他领导着一个由8名内部游说者组成的团队;响应性政治中心(Center for Responsive Politics)的数据显示,他们今年上半年在游说上支出140万美元,而2016年全年为320万美元。佩斯的老板是高盛的幕僚长约翰罗杰斯(John Rogers),一个坚定的共和党体制内人士,而特朗普嘲笑这些人。
Where Goldman and the Trump team have found common cause is deregulation. The job of the Rogers-Paese axis is to turn Mr Trump’s anti-red tape rhetoric into blows against the Volcker rule. It is a clunky regulation disliked by almost all US banks. But its reform is crucial for Goldman because of the bank’s outsized dependence on trading. Citigroup has surpassed Goldman by spending $2.5m on lobbying in the first six months of 2017, while JPMorgan Chase is in line with it at $1.5m, but both are universal banks working on multiple fronts. Morgan Stanley, which doled out $1.2m, was the investment bank most similar to Goldman before the crisis, but it has shifted its focus to wealth management.
高盛和特朗普团队在放松管制上找到了共同事业。罗杰斯-佩斯“轴心”的工作就是将特朗普的反官僚主义言论转化为对沃尔克规则的打击。美国几乎所有银行都不喜欢这项碍手碍脚的法规。但其改革对高盛至关重要,因为该行对交易极为依赖。花旗集团(Citigroup) 2017年上半年支出了250万美元游说费用,超过了高盛的支出。摩根大通(JPMorgan Chase)以150万美元与高盛看齐,但两家都是有多条战线的全能银行。支出120万美元的摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)在危机前是与高盛最相似的投资银行,但其重心已转移到财富管理。
Goldman, however, does not want to look like it is on a lone crusade. As one person who works with the bank says, it would be the kiss of death for any proposal to be branded the “Goldman Sachs amendment”. So it has tried to forge a united front with the industry.
但高盛并不希望自己看起来是在孤军作战。高盛的一位合作者表示,任何打有“高盛修正案”烙印的提案都将是死亡之吻,因此高盛试图与整个银行业建立统一战线。
But there are cracks in the faade. “[Goldman] don’t play well with others. Unless there’s something they want and feel collectively they can do,” says the chief lobbyist of another bank. On Volcker, “whatever the industry view is, it has to be their view”, he adds. The corralling of its peers has happened via the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, or Sifma, a trade group. Sifma laid down a marker with comments it submitted in June to the Treasury’s regulatory review calling for Congress to erase the entire rule.
不过这条战线存在裂缝。另一家银行的首席游说者表示:“(高盛)跟其他银行相处得不好。除非有什么他们想要的东西,并觉得大家团结起来可以有所作为。”他说,在沃尔克规则这件事上,“无论行业的观点是什么,都必须是他们的观点。”高盛凝聚行业共识的努力是通过行业团体美国证券业和金融市场协会(SIFMA)进行的。该协会在6月份向财政部的监管审议提交了意见,呼吁国会取消整个规则,从而确立了一个立场。
On conference calls where Sifma’s members thrashed out what they would say on Volcker, Goldman was “relentless” with Mr Paese at the helm, according to one person involved.
据一位知情人士透露,在SIFMA成员表达各自对沃尔克规则意见的电话会议上,由佩斯代表的高盛牢牢掌控着话题。
Another bank lobbyist says institutions that wanted refinements rather than the abolition of the Volcker rule pushed back against Goldman, worried that asking for too much would jeopardise the chance of any victories. But the lobbyist says that in the end: “What Sifma came out with on Volcker is what Goldman wanted. That’s where they did their fighting.” Ken Bentsen, Sifma president, however, denies that Goldman drove the process and says the trade group’s views have been consistent since 2010.
另一名银行游说者表示,有些想要改进而不是废除沃尔克规则的机构对高盛提出反对,担心要求太多会危及获取任何胜利的机会。但这名游说者表示,最终,“SIFMA对沃尔克规则发表的意见就是高盛想要的。那正是他们所争取的。”不过,SIFMA主席肯本特森(Ken Bentsen)否认高盛驱动了整个过程,并表示该行业团体的看法自2010年以来一直没有变过。
Putting himself in Goldman’s shoes, Peter J Solomon, founder and chairman of a boutique investment bank, says he would “absolutely” want to cast off Volcker and make big bets again. “I would want to do more. Where else are you going to make your money” he says.
一家精品投行的创始人和董事长彼得J所罗门(Peter J. Solomon)表示,如果站在高盛的角度,他“绝对”想要摆脱沃尔克规则,再次在市场上豪赌。他说:“我会想做更多事。不然你还能去哪儿赚钱?”
The received wisdom in Washington is that deregulation will come from Trump-appointees at the Fed and other agencies, which fleshed out Dodd-Frank with their rules and can loosen them within the existing law. In an internal podcast in March, Mr Paese said: “When those individuals are in place...I think you’ll see a deregulatory agenda come forward.” The Senate is yet to confirm Mr Quarles or a second Trump nominee for the Fed, which is Goldman’s primary regulator.
华盛顿的普遍观点是,去监管化将由特朗普在美联储和其他机构任命的人员操刀,这些机构已经用各自的细则来落实《多德-弗兰克法》,因而可以在现行法律的框架下放松管制。佩斯在3月的一次内部播客中表示:“这些人就位以后……我想你们会看到去监管议程出炉。”参议院还没有确认夸尔斯或者特朗普在美联储(高盛的主要监管机构)提名的第二个人选的任命。
Only Congress could repeal the Volcker rule, and that is politically improbable. But there is a backdoor route for lawmakers to help Goldman. It would entail slipping Dodd-Frank changes into an end-of-year spending bill. Two people close to Goldman say it is evaluating its options. “We have our Christmas wishlist, but what can you actually get for the kids under the tree” says one.
只有国会才能废除沃尔克规则,而这在政治上不太可能实现。但立法者可以走迂回的路子帮助高盛,那就是把对《多德-弗兰克法》的修改提案悄悄夹在年底的支出议案中。两名知晓高盛内情的人士表示,该行正在评估这个方案。“我们有我们的圣诞愿望清单,但最后你能把什么礼物放在圣诞树下给你的孩子们呢?”
Mr Mnuchin and Mr Cohn have hinted at changes that would exempt investment banks from some Dodd-Frank restrictions. In January, Mr Mnuchin told senators: “I think the concept of proprietary trading does not belong in banks with [federal] insurance.” The Volcker rule applies to all banks. Narrowing it to only the parts with government-insured deposits would liberate Goldman, because unlike its rivals it keeps its trading separate from its small consumer bank.
姆努钦和科恩已经暗示,会有一些改革让投行免受《多德-弗兰克法》的某些限制。今年1月,姆努钦对参议员们表示:“我认为自营交易的概念不适用有(联邦)保险的银行。”目前沃尔克规则适用于所有银行,如果将其适用范围收窄至吸纳政府担保存款的银行,高盛将会得到解放,因为与竞争对手不同,该行的交易业务与其规模较小的零售银行业务是分开的。
“That could be done by striking part of one sentence in the law,” says Tyler Gellasch, who helped draft the Volcker rule as a Senate aide. The Treasury denies its proposals would give an advantage to any large banks with a low reliance on deposit funding.
“只要删掉法律文本中某一句话的一部分,就能做到这一点,”曾作为参议院助理参与起草沃尔克规则的泰勒格拉施(Tyler Gellasch)表示。美国财政部否认其提案将对不那么依赖存款资金的大银行有利。
Then in April Mr Cohn said he favoured a 21st-century version of the Glass-Steagall law, a Depression-era statute that forced a structural separation of retail and investment banking. Mr Cohn’s version, however, was not about breaking up banks. Instead he alluded to multi-track regulation.
科恩在4月表示,他赞同一部21世纪版本的《格拉斯-斯蒂格尔法》(Glass-Steagall)。这部在大萧条时代出台的法律迫使银行分拆零售业务和投行业务。然而,科恩说的并不是要分拆银行业务;他指的是多轨监管。
“Right now we’ve got this massive set of regulations built to regulate all banks as [if] they’re equal,” Mr Cohn said. “We may be able to tailor regulations for different aspects of the financial markets and different aspects of the financial institutions.” Rival lobbyists took that to mean fewer rules for Goldman traders but little respite for universal banks with more diversified businesses.
“现在,我们制定了一套规模庞大的法规来监管所有的银行,(就像)它们是等同的一样,”科恩说,“我们或许能够针对金融市场的不同方面和金融机构的不同方面量身定制监管法规。”竞争对手的游说者将这解读为高盛的交易员将受到较少的规则约束,但业务更为多样的全能银行没有多少喘息机会。

特朗普给高盛带来契机.jpg

Michael Barr of the University of Michigan, who helped craft Dodd-Frank at the Treasury department, says: “What the administration seems to mean is let’s return to prudential regulation focusing on banks — not the investment banks, holding companies, insurance companies or shadow banking activities. What they [officials] mean is let’s go back to the world we mostly had before the financial crisis.”

曾在财政部帮助起草《多德-弗兰克法》的密歇根大学(University of Michigan)教授迈克尔巴尔(Michael Barr)表示:“本届行政当局的意思似乎是让我们回到专注于银行的审慎监管——而不是投行、控股公司、保险公司或者影子银行业务。他们(官员们)的意思是让我们基本上回到金融危机前的那个世界。”
As Goldman’s president, Mr Cohn argued told the Obama administration that Dodd-Frank caused bond market liquidity to dry up. Democrats view the bank’s claims with scepticism, but they are no longer in charge.
时任高盛总裁的科恩曾告诉奥巴马政府,《多德-弗兰克法》导致债券市场流动性枯竭。民主党人对高盛的说法表示怀疑,但现在国会已经不是他们的天下了。
In Mr Blankfein the emboldening effect of the Trump administration is unmistakable. In June he criticised policymakers’ response to the financial crisis as an “over-reaction”, a striking shift from his words in 2010. The bank’s lobbying reflects the change. A weakening of the Volcker rule is not guaranteed, but it is now within Goldman’s grasp.
特朗普政府给高盛带来的壮胆效果在贝兰克梵身上表露无遗。6月,他批评政策制定者对金融危机做出的反应“过度”,这与他在2010年的措辞截然不同。高盛的游说者也反映出这个变化。削弱沃尔克规则的事情算不上板上钉钉,但它现在是高盛能够企及的。
Additional reporting by Ben McLannahan in New York
本麦克兰纳汗(Ben McLannahan)纽约补充报道

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leverage ['li:vəridʒ]

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n. 杠杆(作用,力量),举债经营 v. (使)举债经营

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striking ['straikiŋ]

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adj. 吸引人的,显著的
n. 打击

 
forge [fɔ:dʒ]

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vt. 伪造,锻造
vi. 伪造,在铁匠铺工作

 
liberate ['libəreit]

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v. 解放,使获得自由,释出,放出
vt. 解

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multiple ['mʌltipl]

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adj. 许多,多种多样的
n. 倍数,并联

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consistent [kən'sistənt]

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adj. 始终如一的,一致的,坚持的

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