Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
Apr 15, 2019 • 09:00 am ET
Good morning. My name is Dennis, and I will be your conference facilitator today. I would like to welcome everyone to the Goldman Sachs First Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. This call is being recorded today, April 15, 2019.
Thank you, Ms. Miner, you may begin your conference.
Heather Kennedy Miner
Good morning. This is Heather Kennedy Miner, Head of Investor Relations at Goldman Sachs. Welcome to our first quarter earnings conference call.
On this call, we will reference our earnings presentation, which can be found on the Investor Relations page of our website at www.gs.com. No information on forward-looking statements and non-GAAP measures appear in the earnings release and presentation. This audio cast is copyrighted material of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and may not be duplicated, reproduced or rebroadcast without our consent.
Today on the call, I'm joined by our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David Solomon; and our Chief Financial Officer, Stephen Scherr. You will find today's agenda on Page One of the earnings presentation. David will start with a high level review of our financial performance, the current operating environment, and provide an update on our strategy. Stephen will then share initial observations from ongoing front-to-back business reviews and cover first quarter results in each of our businesses. We'll then be happy to take your question.
I'll now pass the call over to David. David?
David M. Solomon
Thanks, Heather, and thanks to everyone for joining us this morning. I'm happy to be here with all of you.
Let me begin on Page Two. We reported first quarter 2019 revenues of $8.8 billion, down 13% versus last year, reflecting a slower start for the year relative to the robust market backdrop of a year ago. Net earnings were $2.3 billion, resulting in earnings per share of $5.71. We posted a return on common equity of 11.1%, and a return on tangible equity of 11.7%. While we aspire to deliver stronger results, the overall franchise performed well in the context of more muted market activity in the first half of the quarter.
Through Friday, we ranked number one in global completed M&A; number one in announced M&A; and number one in global equity underwriting. We posted record net interest income and debt investing and lending, and record assets under supervision and investment management.
Turning to Page Three, our results were generated in a mixed macroeconomic backdrop, particularly early in the quarter, as a number of variables weighed on market sentiment. First, coming off the challenging market performance in the fourth quarter, we saw a central banks pivot to an accommodative policy on rates.
In the US, the fed shifted from its prior path of incremental tightening to a more neutral stance. In Europe, the ECB signaled move back monetary stimulus. Central banks in Asia also shifted to more dovish rhetoric amid a backdrop of lower inflation and somewhat disappointing growth.
The net result was a lower volatility environment as government bonds rallied in yield curves flattened in the US and Europe. With the VIX