At a time when Wall Street firms have had few success stories either in relative or absolute terms, the accomplishments of Goldman Sachs' fixed-income sales unit stood out in terms both qualitative and quantitative.

"I can say publicly that the business I represent has had a record year," Goldman partner and managing director Stacy Bash-Polley says. "I feel very proud of this accomplishment, though it is not something we celebrate given what has gone on in the industry."

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