To avoid the fate of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley became bank holding companies in 2008. Since then, though, despite assertions they are gathering deposits, Goldman actually had fewer deposits as a percentage of liabilities at the end of 2011 than it did at the end of 2008, according to Bloomberg data. For Morgan Stanley, deposits as a percentage of liabilities are up only slightly--26.91% at the end of 2011 versus 25.99% at the end of 2008
Short term borrowing data are even more troubling. At Goldman, short-term borrowing accounted for 40% of total liabilities at the end of 2011 versus 25% at the end of 2008. At Morgan Stanley, short-term borrowing accounted for 33% of liabilities in 2011 versus 29.4% at the end of 2008, according to Bloomberg."The Federal Reserve calls them banks, but Goldman and Morgan Stanley are still financing themselves largely through markets and there's a general belief that they're safe investments to make, but that can change tomorrow," Metrick says.