Average Goldman share handout will be $126,000

THE TOP five partners at Goldman Sachs are set to receive shares worth nearly $900m (pounds 560m) when the firm goes public in June.

All Goldman's 13,000 staff, including 2,500 in London, will get shares worth half annual salary plus bonus, making an average windfall of $126,000, with more senior staff topped up on a discretionary basis. The big beneficiaries will be the top brass, whose existing capital built up over years at the firm will be converted into shares.

John Thornton, co-chief operating officer stands to get 3.01 million shares, worth up to $170m on flotation. John Thain, the former chief financial officer who is now co-chief operating offer, gets 3 million or $165m worth of shares.

The biggest slice goes to the chairman and chief executive, Hank Paulson, who will receive 4.13 million shares worth $227m. Next in line is Robert Hurst, co-head of investment banking, with 3.84 million shares worth $211m. David Viniar, who took over this year from Mr Thain as chief financial officer, gets 1.72 million shares worth $94m.

Sir John Browne, chief executive of BP-Amoco, and James Johnson, former chairman and chief executive of Fannie Mae, the American Federal mortgage corporation, are to join the board as non-executive directors.

The other 221 partners and 541 managing directors - the layer below partnership - will hold shares worth up to $15.5bn. The figures are contained in the sale prospectus filed yesterday.