Goldman Sachs is looking to shift its New Zealand-based securities business across the Tasman.

Goldman bosses Andrew Barclay and Simon Rothery informed staff this morning of a proposal to make changes to the firm's securities trading, settlements and clearing functions in New Zealand.

"In early 2016 we are proposing to relocate our New Zealand-based market trading activities and implement an integrated coverage model from Sydney," Barclay and Rothery said.

Goldman's local investment banking unit is expected to remain as a standalone business in New Zealand.

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Goldman spokeswoman Hayley Morris said fewer than 20 New Zealand-based employees, including research analysts and sales staff, would be affected by the proposed changes.

"It's reflecting the fact that markets are global in nature and continuing to maintain the standalone New Zealand platform makes less sense than one which is fully integrated across Australia and New Zealand," Morris said. "We're a global firm with a New Zealand business and running that platform efficiently is part of what we need to do."

She said that if the proposal goes ahead, research of NZX stocks would be conducted in Australia and a New Zealand-based broker would be used to carry out clearing and execution of trades in New Zealand.

The investment banking unit would be kept in this country because it was a more "face-to-face" business, Morris said.

"A lot of the securities and equities business is transacted using technology."

A market source said Goldman's proposal was a disappointing development for this country's capital markets.

"But if Goldman have made a decision to pull it [the securities business] you could fairly assume it's not making money."

Goldman Sachs New Zealand Holdings posted a 52 per cent drop in revenue and a full-year loss for 2014.

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The local unit of the Wall Street investment bank reported a $2.9 million loss for the 12 months to December 31, down from a $16 million profit in the same period a year earlier, according to financial statements lodged with the Companies Office.

Revenue -- earned from fees, commissions and trading -- fell from $48.9 million in 2013 to $23.4 million last year.