April 15 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs profit rose 28% in the first quarter, buoyed by a recovery in debt underwriting and dealmaking that boosted its investment banking unit, it reported on Monday.

Profit rose to $4.13 billion, or $11.58 per share, for the three months ended March 31, compared with $3.23 billion, or $8.79 per share, a year ago.

"We continue to execute on our strategy, focusing on our core strengths to serve our clients and deliver for our shareholders," CEO David Solomon said.

Executives at rivals JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup cited improving conditions for dealmaking on Friday when the lenders reported profits that beat market expectations.

As a leading advisor for mergers and acquisitions, Goldman has advised on some of last year's biggest deals, including Exxon Mobil's $60 billion purchase of Pioneer Natural Resources.

With corporations regaining some confidence to raise money in capital markets, equity and bond underwriting business rebounded.

The Federal Reserve has so far managed to steer the economy toward a so-called soft landing, in which it raises interest rates and tames inflation while avoiding a major downturn.

Higher fees from underwriting debt and stock offerings as well as advising on deals lifted Goldman's investment banking fees up 32% to $2.08 billion.

Revenue from trading in fixed income, currencies and commodities rose 10% to $4.32 billion, while equities revenue jumped 10% to $3.31 billion.

Global volume of mergers and acquisitions climbed 30% in the first quarter to about $755.1 billion from a year ago, according to data from Dealogic.

Platform solutions, the unit that houses some of Goldman's consumer operations, garnered 24% higher revenue.

Goldman is slimming down its ill-fated consumer banking operations after they lost billions of dollars. It has already taken big writedowns on GreenSky, a home improvement lender it bought and sold two years later.

CEO Solomon, who once championed the retail push, has drawn criticism for the strategy.

Top proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) urged shareholders to vote for the bank to split its chairman and CEO roles, both of which are currently held by Solomon. ISS cited his "missteps and steep losses" in a report to investors.

Goldman has also scrapped its co-branded credit cards with General Motors, and a similar partnership it has with tech giant Apple is facing an uncertain future.

The bank's provisions for credit losses jumped to $318 million compared to a net benefit of $171 million a year ago, due to potential defaults in credit cards and wholesale loans. (Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Lananh Nguyen and Arun Koyyur)