FSA probes Goldman and its 'Fab'
First things first: the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) decision to investigate Goldman over the way it sold the collateralised debt obligation Abacus 2007-ACI to investors is another embarrassment for the world's most successful hedge fund.
But all it really shows is that the FSA takes the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) civil fraud charge against Goldman seriously - which shouldn't be much of a surprise.
The relevant point is that the middle ranking Goldman executive also accused by the SEC of fraud in this case, Fabrice "Fab" Tourre, is currently authorised by the FSA to work as a banker in London, having been employed on Wall Street at the time of the alleged offence.
So the FSA has a legal duty to investigate whether its proper that Mr Tourre should continue to be licenced to ply his trade here.
In other words, there is no reason to assume that the FSA has discovered some kind of British angle to the alleged fraud (other than what I pointed out on Friday, to wit that by dint of a chain of deals, some $841m of the Abacus loss ended up with Royal Bank of Scotland).
Still, it's not the prelude to the unveiling of Goldman's first-quarter results that it would have chosen.
I'll update you on those in just a few minutes, when they're available.
Update 12:16: Well Goldman has done it again: another spectacular set of figures from the world's number one investment bank.
Net revenues at $12.8bn were up by a third compared with the last quarter of 2009 and by more than a third in relation to the first three months of last year.
As for net earnings, these were a handsome $3.5bn, 94% higher than a year earlier.
However handsomest of all was the provision for what to pay employees: this was a mouthwatering $5.5bn, or $166,000 on average for each of Goldman's 33,100 permanent and temporary staff.
In pounds sterling, that around £109,000 per head for three months work (although, of course, no-one at Goldman is paid that average - some are paid less and the lucky ones received spectacularly more).
Goldman would wish me to point out that remuneration could have $830m more - $25,000 per head higher - if it hadn't shown restraint and decided to pay out a lower proportion of revenues as compensation than has been its norm.
What's the £109,000 question? Whether the SEC's civil fraud charges - which Goldman contests in no uncertain terms - marks a high-water mark for the firm and therefore for the riches accruing to its clever bankers?