State Street, the Boston-based custody bank, agreed on Tuesday to pay $550 million for the hedge fund administration unit of Goldman Sachs, a move that will give the firm a dominant position in one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative corners of finance.
The announcement came on the same day State Street reported a 4 percent drop in its second-quarter profit, as tepid global markets hurt fees. Earnings at the firm dropped 2 cents a share from a year earlier, and revenue fell 3 percent, to $2.42 billion.
The bank said its deal for the Goldman Sachs portfolio would make State Street the biggest servicer of hedge funds in the world, overseeing nearly $900 billion in so-called alternative assets. Administrators assist hedge funds and other so-called alternative asset managers with back-office responsibilities, including keeping records and tracking performance.
In the last decade, hedge funds have ballooned in size to become a major investing force, bringing in hundreds of billions of dollars from institutional investors. Banks and others have scrambled for their business, hoping to capitalize on the industry’s growth.
The administration business has been an active one, as firms scramble to get a piece of the hedge fund business. It has also been a significant boon to the largest players, as investors demand institutional-quality service providers after frauds and Ponzi schemes like the one carried out by Bernard L. Madoff.
The Goldman unit “is a premier provider of hedge fund administrative services and represents a strong franchise supported by longstanding relationships with highly regarded clients and an industry-leading service philosophy similar to our own,” George E. Sullivan, the global head of State Street’s alternative investment solutions team, said in a statement. “Servicing alternative assets remains a strategic focus for State Street.”
The deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, does not include the prime brokerage business at Goldman Sachs, the company said.
“With this transaction, we will be well positioned to offer our clients an enhanced product offering that covers the entire investment life cycle and provides relevant regulatory compliance, risk and transparency solutions that our clients often request to help them navigate today’s complex environment,” Cory Thackeray, who will remain in charge of Goldman’s hedge fund administration team as it moves to State Street, said in a statement.