Goldman Sachs are reviewing their relationship with Sir Philip Green after doomed BHS sale

 
Helen Cahill
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Goldman Sachs' vice chairman told MPs today that the firm's involvement in the doomed sale of BHS had not helped its reputation.

Responding to a question from committee chair Iain Wright on whether Goldman Sachs' involvement in the BHS saga had helped the bank's reputation, vice chairman Michael Sherwood said: "No."

"We have been reviewing Goldman's relationship with Philip green at this point," Sherwood said.

Fallout with Sir Philip Green

In evidence to the joint select committee into BHS earlier this month, Green seemed to blame Goldman Sachs in part for the collapse of the high-street store, saying Goldman Sachs gave him bad advice on bankrupt Dominic Chappell as a potential buyer.

Green said: "This is important. One million per cent, we would not have done business with him, if they would have said: don't deal with this guy. That is not the advice we got."

Sherwood stressed today he was not a gatekeeper in the negotiations.

"I absolutely do not accept blame," Sherwood said. "If I had a regret, I wish that we had documented more clearly our involvement in writing."

The bankers said Goldman Sachs are now going to look at the frequency with which they review clients as a result of the BHS debacle.

Sherwood said he refused to give full advice Sir Philip Green on the sale of BHS because the transaction was too small.

"We just weren't that involved in this process," Sherwood said. "We thought it was too small, we thought that the potential buyer-base was a smaller turn-around...We didn’t think this was for us for commercial reasons."

He added: "If a credible adviser had been appointed, due diligence would have been done."

Paul Budge, Arcadia group's finance director, gave evidence after Goldman Sachs and stressed that the firm had acted as a "sniff test" on Chappell, saying: "I don't think Goldmans had any intention of doing anything wrong - but we are where we are.

"What was going on with Goldmans should have been a far more documented process."

Budge later added: "We've let ourselves down. Goldmans have let us down."

Sherwood said Sir Philip Green the bank has been a private wealth client of Goldman Sachs since 2008, and that the bank provided informal advise.

Anthony Gutman, co-head of investment banking services for Europe, reiterated previous statements today, saying he had warned Paul Budge about Dominic Chappell's lack of retail experience, and Chappell's former bankruptcies.

Gutman said: "We weren't capable of telling him what, or what not, to do."

"We left it to them to make their judgements."