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It’s good for Goldman Sachs if rival banks cut back in asset management, says Jim O’Neill in Singapore

Goldman Sachs

Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and (more famously) creator of the BRIC acronym spoke at a press briefing in Singapore on Friday. Here are some interesting excerpts.

eFinancialCareers: Given all the redundancies and restructuring in the financial sector (for instance, Credit Suisse may merge its asset management arm with its private bank and investment bank), what is the current outlook like for the asset management industry?

O’Neill: “This week is the two-year anniversary of me taking this job. And I think in a world of great uncertainty, great change and opportunity, the need for a reliable and clients-helping asset management business is fantastic, which is why I chose to accept this job that I’ve got.

It’s interesting that some financial institutions appear to be trying to reduce their presence in that book. I would see that, as the chair of a large asset management company, as good; less competition is good. I don’t really understand why people talk about it; I think the world is going to grow better, and with so many incredible changes going on, the need for asset management is huge.”

On China’s slowing growth

O’Neill: “China is in the early stages of going from a long period where it was all about the quantity of growth, into an era where the focus is on the quality of growth.

Part of the dilemma that investors face is that we’re all used to the drug of 10 per cent growth and those days are behind us…I think people need to get their head around the fact that this decade it will probably be close to 7 [ per cent growth]…and I think that’s good.”

Impact of the US presidential elections on the stock market

O’Neill: “I know lots of people focus on those things, it’s not something – given what else is going on – that drives me so much. There’s a conventional view that Romney will be good and Obama will be bad but I think life is so much more complex than that. There are other things like unemployment, stock prices, [other] than just the elections.”

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