Goldman’s Waldron Warns of Unprecedented Economic Shocks, Echoing Dimon

(Bloomberg) — A top Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive echoed Jamie Dimon’s pessimistic tone, warning of tougher times ahead amid a string of shocks rattling the global economy.

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“This is among — if not the most — complex, dynamic environments I’ve ever seen in my career,” Goldman President John Waldron said at an investor conference Thursday. “The confluence of the number of shocks to the system to me is unprecedented.”

Waldron’s comments echoed the stark warning on Wednesday from Dimon, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s chief executive officer, who warned investors to prepare for a “hurricane” amid an unprecedented combination of challenges. Waldron said he’ll avoid “using any weather analogies,” but spelled out his fear that risks from inflation, changing monetary policy and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could kneecap the global economy.

“We expect there’s going to be tougher economic times ahead,” Waldron said. “No question we are seeing a tougher capital-markets environment.”

The life-long investment banker expressed surprise at the resilience in the merger market, “which is inconsistent with everything I’ve been talking about.” One possible outcome: “That’s going to start to roll over because you see demand destruction, CEOs get a little less confident,” Waldron said. “That’s a reasonable expectation, but we’re watching that carefully as a signal.”

Waldron emerged as one of the harshest critics of the Federal Reserve from the banking sector earlier this year, when he assailed the central bank for what he perceived as its lack of autonomy and resolve to withstand the pressure to carry out measures needed to tame the hottest inflation in 40 years.

On Thursday, he sounded a more confident note on his own firm’s ability to still print elevated profits through the downturn.

“Whatever the economic environment is, we will do just fine,” he said.

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