It may be a late arrival in Perth, but Goldman Sachs says there now should be no illusions about its commitment to WA.
The top-tier global investment bank announced its entry into Perth last July, detailing plans to set up a permanent office headed by Peter Watson to tap into the State's deal flow in the resources sector.
Visiting the city yesterday, Goldman Sachs' Asia Pacific chairman Mark Schwartz said the Perth office was a normal evolution for a firm which only opened in Beijing in 2004 and Mumbai in 2006.
"Although we have been late in many markets, including building out only recently in China and India, when Goldman Sachs decides to open an office, which happens very rarely, we are always making a very deliberate decision that signals our commitment, determination and willingness to invest for the long-term and to eventually build a world class business," Mr Schwartz said.
"We have no illusions. There are many excellent firms already operating in Perth and Western Australia.
"We have great respect for all those firms and we realise it will take time to build the type of meaningful relationships we are seeking to build here."
Beijing-based Mr Schwartz, who rejoined Goldman Sachs last year after a 12-year absence during which he ran his own investment firm and headed billionaire George Soros' funds management business, said the establishment of the Perth office was one of a number of short-term strategic priorities for Goldman Sachs Australia.
The others include the expansion and centralisation in Australia of its fixed income business and beefing up the firm's equity capital markets arm.
Mr Watson, recruited from Macquarie Capital, said though it was still early days - he has been in the job for only three months - the initial reception had been positive with plenty of interest around Goldman Sachs' access to US capital markets.
"We have been getting a lot of traction from people who see a real alternative now for a full service bank in the local market," Mr Watson said.
"We see Perth becoming more sophisticated in regards to the financing of resources projects, so we are getting a lot of traction on the financing side of the business, a lot of questions about US capital and debt markets, about access to the high-yield market over there."Mr Watson joined as an executive director in Goldman Sachs' natural resources team, reporting to team chief Richard Phillips in Melbourne.