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Goldman Sachs’ Marcus Platform Is Ready to Take the Next Step

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® - Oct 23, 2018 at 6:32AM

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The investment banking giant’s consumer banking plans are coming together nicely.

Goldman Sachs' (GS 3.14%) investment management division has always focused on the rich. The average wealth management client in the division has about $50 million under management, and the bank typically has looked for a $10 million minimum for new clients.

All of that is about to change. Goldman's rapidly growing Marcus platform, which currently offers personal loan and deposit products, is planning to expand into investment management for everyday Americans -- not just for the wealthy. Here's what we know so far and what it could mean for Goldman Sachs and its investors.

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Goldman Sachs' new investment management product

Goldman Sachs is planning to create a digital wealth management product that is aimed at helping everyday people invest their money. The new product would be part of the bank's Marcus consumer finance platform, which was launched in late 2016 and has rapidly grown into more than $4 billion in loans and $29 billion in deposits. In its recent third-quarter earnings report, Goldman's investing and lending division reported 52% year-over-year revenue from debt securities and loans, and Marcus was the main reason for it.

As part of the new product launch, Goldman is moving its Marcus business from the firm's investing and lending division to its massive investment management division, which currently has $1.55 trillion under supervision. After the move is finalized, the division is going to be renamed "consumer and investment management."

Details on the product itself are light so far, but according to sources, the product could be some sort of robo-advisor platform, and Goldman could create its own mutual funds and ETFs for the product. The idea is to combine the up-and-coming Marcus platform with the vast resources of the bank's investment management business.

This is the next step in Marcus' growth, and there could be much more to come

In a presentation earlier in 2018, Goldman Sachs CEO (then-President) David Solomon indicated several other potential growth avenues in consumer banking, including checking accounts, insurance products, mortgages, and more. In other words, Goldman's vision is not for Marcus to just be a personal lender and online savings bank -- Goldman wants it to grow into a one-stop shop for consumers' banking needs.

Could Goldman grow into a major consumer bank over the coming years?

Here's why this is important to investors. Goldman Sachs has a massive -- and largely untapped -- opportunity to offer consumer banking products to the masses. The bank has one of the most highly regarded brand names in the financial industry, access to tons of capital to grow as it sees fit, and no burden of a costly network of physical banking branches dragging on profit margins.

Sure, the Marcus platform has grown impressively, but it's still quite small relative to the industry leaders in lending and savings accounts.

Investment management services could prove to be another major growth catalyst for the Marcus platform. There's a large base of existing Marcus clients that could be cross-sold the new investment product, and this could also bring many new customers into the Marcus ecosystem who would love for one of the most respected investment firms in the world to manage their wealth.

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