The investment giant made a profit of $1.51bn (£937m) in the three-month period, compared with a loss of $428m a year ago.
The industry has improved in the last quarter as the economy shows signs of life and the Fed loosened policy – a key factor in pushing up bond and stock values and so raising Goldman’s profits. But the bank also performed more strongly itself, with investment bank revenues up 49 per cent to $1.16bn, largely on strong underwriting figures.
Fixed income, currency and commodities revenues rose 28 per cent to $2.22bn, driven by the mortgage and credit products businesses. And the bank raised its dividend for the second time this year, unusually for an institution more recently focused on raising capital levels. Operating expenses increased 40 per cent to $6.05bn, with compensation and benefits rising 133 per cent to $3.675bn.
As headcount has fallen five per cent to 32,600, compensation per employee rose to $336,441 for the first nine months of 2012. Analysts also praised the 8.6 per cent return on equity, even though it is below the double-digits hoped for before the financial crisis.