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Goldman’s Automation of Debt Sales Could Mean Lower Fees

The average fee for underwriting investment-grade U.S. debt has already fallen in recent years.

Goldman Sachs wants to be a technology company, and it's taking steps to be more like one even in some traditionally human-intensive businesses.

As Bloomberg's Dakin Campbell reported Tuesday, Goldman is seeking to automate aspects of underwriting initial public offerings and new corporate-debt sales, among other types of banking. This ostensibly isn't aimed at cutting jobs but rather allowing junior staff members to focus on more valuable tasks than, say, assembling spreadsheets or sending around legal documents and term sheets. While the types of automation Goldman is considering seem incremental, the effort signals a broader significant shift taking place. Let's consider just one area Goldman is reviewing — new corporate-bond sales.

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