Could it be Goldman Sachs isn't doing incredibly well, and won't be coughing up copious amounts of cash at bonus time after all?
Fortune magazine suggests Goldman's 79% increase in 3Q net income was more down to clever accounting than to clever prop traders.
It apparently turns out that nearly 65% of Goldman's gargantuan 4bn profits were derived from unrealized profits on complex derivatives which were marked to Goldman's own models rather than to an unforgiving and illiquid market.
Fortune quotes Charles Peabody, an analyst at Portales Partners, who describes Goldman's accounting as "opaque" and says, "A lot of these losses were real and a lot of their gains were paper, and that's something we'd like to know more about."
Goldman is predictably unhappy that aspersions are being cast on its third-quarter levitation act. The Telegraph quotes a bank spokesman who says suggestions of inflated paper gains were "preposterous", and that "We do this for a living. It is impossible to manage your risk if you don't know the value of your assets."
What do you think? Can Goldmanites still count on portly payouts? Or are its profits a question of wishful thinking?