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Goldman Sachs postpones hedge-fund conference

Date: Thursday, February 5, 2009
Author: Stephen Bernard, Business Week.com

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. postponed a conference it holds annually for investors and hedge fund clients. The conference location will also be moved to New York.

The conference was scheduled for early March in Miami, but instead will be held in New York in the coming months. No official date has been set for the new conference.

The postponement and change of venue comes amid a growing chorus of criticism of how financial firms that received funds from the federal government spend their money.

"In light of the current environment, Goldman Sachs decided to reschedule the conference," said spokesman Ed Canaday.

The Goldman conference postponement comes a day after Wells Fargo & Co. canceled a planned conference for its top-producing employees in Las Vegas and just weeks after Citigroup Inc. decided not to take delivery of a corporate jet it had originally agreed to purchase in 2005.

Citigroup, which has been among the hardest hit during the ongoing credit crisis and recession, has received $45 billion from the government. It is also facing scrutiny for its 20-year, $400 million contract to name the New York Mets' new baseball stadium CitiField.

Considered one of the stronger banks amid the ongoing turmoil, Goldman Sachs received $10 billion in capital to bolster its balance sheet last fall from the government. The New York-based bank also changed its operating structure to a bank holding company -- along with competitor Morgan Stanley -- as investors worried about the viability of stand alone investment banks in the wake of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s collapse and after Merrill Lynch & Co. sold itself to Bank of America Corp.

The Goldman conference brings together hedge fund managers and Goldman investors and clients to discuss the industry. Canaday said there were hundreds of attendees registered for the conference, but it is too early to tell how many will show up for the revamped event in New York.

It's the eighth year Goldman is hosting the event. All the previous conferences took place in Florida.