£8bn pay bill for Goldman Sachs


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The Independent Online

Wall Street banking giant Goldman Sachs, which employs thousands of staff in the UK, revealed a bill for pay and bonuses in 2011 of $12.22bn (£7.95 billion) today.

While the total pay packet - based on its headcount of 33,300, equating to an average of $366,966 (£238,832) for each of its staff - decreased by 21 per cent compared to last year, the share of revenues paid out in salary and benefits for 2011 was up from 39.3 per cent to 42.4 per cent.

The firm, which employs around 5,300 staff in the UK who are all eligible for performance-related bonuses, posted a 47 per cent drop in net earnings to $4.4bn (£2.8bn) for the year to December 31. This followed a 26 per cent decline in revenues to $28.8bn (£18.7bn).

The figures are the latest in the annual results season for major US banks and will be watched closely on these shores as UK banks prepare to release their own figures next month.

Despite the 47 per cent plunge in earnings and 26 per cent fall in revenues, average pay and bonuses per employee has only fallen by 15 per cent.

The New York-based group said its drop in revenues and profits was down to turbulence experienced on markets throughout the year as fears over the global economic outlook intensified.

Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive and chairman at Goldman Sachs, said: "This past year was dominated by global macro-economic concerns which significantly affected our clients' risk tolerance and willingness to transact."

He added: "As economies and markets improve - and we see encouraging signs of this - Goldman Sachs is very well positioned to perform for our clients and our shareholders."

Elsewhere, Goldman said its fourth-quarter earnings were 1.01 billion US dollars (£657 million), compared to a loss of £393 million.

Total pay and bonuses came in at 2.2 billion US dollars (£1.4 billion) in the three months to December 31, a 40 per cent increase on the third quarter.

Breaking the results down, Goldman said its investment banking arm saw annual revenues fall 9 per cent to 4.36 billion US dollars (£2.8 billion), with financial advice revenues down 4 per cent to 1.99 billion US dollars (£1.3 billion).

Goldman Sachs took 10 billion US dollars (£6.2 billion) from the US Treasury at the height of the financial crisis but has since paid the money back, with taxpayers earning 1.4 billion dollars (£865 million) on the investment.

Last week, America's biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase, revealed a 29 billion US dollars (£18.9 billion) bill for staff pay and bonuses in 2011, which equates to 111,471 US dollars (£72,700) for its 260,157 staff.