After a year of cost-cutting that resulted in more than 2,400 job cuts, Goldman Sachs is satisfied with its staffing levels and doesn't intend to conduct more large layoffs.
Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said the firm has "largely implemented our announced expense reductions" and is "relatively well-positioned, assuming the environment stays where it is." He was speaking on a conference call with analysts to discuss first-quarter earnings.
"We're going to look for other means for efficiency," he said. "I wouldn't expect anything major to change from where we are."
Headcount decreased 3%, or 900 positions, to 32,400 in the first quarter of 2012, a reflection of the firm's plans to rightsize the business and cut costs. The firm cut 2,400 jobs in 2011, double the amount it had planned to shed. FINS reported earlier this month that 200 people were laid off in technology, operations, finances and other non-revenue generating roles.
Viniar said the firm trimmed more headcount in the U.S. and in Europe and less in Asia, due to Goldman's "concentration on growing that business."
Though the firm intends to grow in emerging markets, that growth will be "moderate" given the current macroeconomic conditions, Viniar added.
Goldman top management isn't worried about the swell of partners who have left the firm in recent months, the executive also said. Between 15% and 20% of partners leave every two years, and over the past four years coming into 2012, very few left due to the tough economic environment, Viniar said. The recent departures are simply a "catch-up" as things have improved.
"it's natural, it's warranted, there's nothing unusual about this," Viniar said. "It's exactly what you would expect. Our bench is so deep, I expect it not to be an issue at all."
In compensation, the firm set aside an average of $135,123 per employee in the first quarter. That figure is down from the year-earlier period, when it set aside $147,825 per each of the 35,400 employees at the time. The compensation ratio stayed flat at 44% from a year earlier.
The firm's fixed income, currency and commodity unit rebounded from the fourth quarter with $3.46 billion, more than double than what the firm booked in the fourth quarter of 2011. It's still down 20% from last year, though.
Investment banking revenue was down nearly 10% from last year, though up 35% from the fourth quarter.
Goldman reported earnings of $3.92 a share, up from $1.56 a year earlier. Analysts had expected $3.55 a share.
Write to Julie Steinberg at Julie.Steinberg@dowjones.com