Volatility in foreign exchange markets always helps Wall Street trading desks as investors and corporate Treasurers look to manage changes in currencies. But, does a drop in the value of the euro or the yen against the greenback chip away at their earnings which are reported in U.S. dollars?
That may not be the case for two major Wall Street firms, according to a report published by analysts at Bernstein Research on Wednesday. The analysts examined Goldman Sachs’ and Morgan Stanley’s businesses and found that the bottom-line impact of changing currency rates on brokerage firm earnings is “minimal.”
According to the report, Morgan Stanley and Goldman face transaction-based currency risk which comes when a either serves as an advisor on a foreign M&A deal in which fees are determined by the value of the foreign target firm.
Also, there is a translation exposure for both firms that comes at quarter-end when Goldman and Morgan Stanley convert their foreign currency-denominated balance sheets into U.S. dollars.
Last year, Goldman booked 44% of its revenues outside of the United States; 26% of it was from EMEA and 18% from Asia.
Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, booked 27% of its revenues from EMEA 12% from Asia between 2005 and 2009.
The biggest risk facing Goldman Sachs, though, is the uncertainty of new regulations that could chip away at important sources of profit, according to Bernstein analysts, who added that Goldman’s current share price is a “rare opportunity for value investors.”