For now, if you want financial advice from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), you'll have to obtain it from a human associate of the company. In remarks made during a presentation at a financial services industry conference, the company's president and COO John Waldron said it wouldn't launch its planned robo-advisory service this year.
The decision is due, as with many changes in business strategy around the world lately, to the economic slowdown caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak.
"[W]hile we continue to pursue growth in our overall wealth franchise, we are acting prudently in the current environment," Waldron said. "We have decided to slow our advisor hiring activity for this year and we will defer the launch of our digital wealth offering into 2021."
Goldman Sachs has high hopes for services like wealth management. It believes that products like automated robo-advising (the "digital wealth offering," of Waldron's words) can attract clients with more modest incomes than traditional users of wealth management services. The company had also planned to take on numerous flesh-and-blood advisors to assist clients.
The investment bank has lately been plowing money into acquisitions of financial services assets. Earlier this month it signed a deal to buy privately held Folio Financial under terms that were not disclosed, and in 2019 it paid $750 million in cash to purchase registered investment advisor (RIA) United Capital (since rebranded as Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management).
Investors weren't all that hot on Goldman Sachs Thursday. The stock fell more precipitously than that of the wider equities market, declining by slightly over 4% on the day.