Lloyd Blankfein stands up 10,000 women

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In an example of supremely unfortunate timing, Goldman chose this morning to invite hundreds of journalists and academics to its Fleet St HQ to promote its '10,000 Women' initiative for encouraging entrepreneurialism among women in the developing world. Lloyd Blankfein was supposed to be hosting the event. But he was incarcerated somewhere in New York, so European sidekick Michael Sherwood had to do it for him.

Sherwood excused his boss's failure to materialise on the grounds of a 'fraught weekend', full of 'complicated conversations'.

Goldman releases its Q3 results tomorrow. In the long term, it may actually end up benefiting from Lehman's sudden demise. But in the short term, it faces some difficult questions about its business model.

"Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are likely going to have to push to develop core deposits. This could be through acquiring a bank, or through selling to one," predicts Ladenburg Thalman analyst Dick Bove. "The former is most likely," he adds.

In the meantime, making a fanfare about corporate social responsibility is good for morale. With 5,000 people enrolled since the programme was launched in March, but only 22 women graduating from its courses so far, Goldman isn't exactly close to meeting its target of educating 10,000 of them in five years. But this need not matter.

One Goldman banker told this morning's attendees how "refreshing" it was to finish a long day's work and turn her attention to mentoring African fish farmers instead. If another 9,999 of Goldman's 31,500 workers can be similarly refreshed they might feel a little less battered by the events of this week.

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