The American International Group, the insurance giant that planned to retain Goldman Sachs to help reorganise its businesses, has replaced Goldman as its main corporate adviser, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, which was not intended to be public. Instead, the insurer is turning to Citigroup and Bank of America.
The move is the first in what some analysts warn could be a series of defections among Goldman’s clients after accusations — vigorously denied by Goldman — that it defrauded customers in a complex mortgage investment. A Goldman spokesman declined to comment.
As Goldman’s legal problems have escalated — first with a civil fraud suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and then with a federal criminal investigation — some investors have grown increasingly anxious about the potential damage to Goldman’s reputation and business.
AIG’s decision leaves Goldman out of the mix at a pivotal moment for the insurance company and breaks a traditionally close relationship. AIG, which has yet to repay billions of dollars of federal aid, helped to insure billions of dollars of Goldman’s mortgage securities, including seven deals like the one involved in the securities fraud case filed last month by the SEC.
While AIG is the first company that is known to have cancelled major work with Goldman, European officials and some local officials in the United States have also said they are reconsidering their relationships with the bank. Several shareholders have filed suits against Goldman and its board and executives, saying they should have disclosed the SEC investigation earlier.
Goldman executives have told analysts that the bank’s business has not suffered since the case.