Goldman Sachs earmarks $13bn for bonuses

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The Independent Online

The Goldman Sachs bonus bonanza continued yesterday as the investment bank set aside $13.1bn for its wealthy employees to share for the work they have performed during the first nine months of the year.

That amounts to 43 per cent of revenues, with an average payment to each of its 34,500 staff of $370,706 (£234,000). However, the best-paid bankers will earn considerably more because the workforce includes support staff who are paid just a fraction of the dizzying sums taken home by their bosses.

Overall, however, pay is down by 21 per cent from the $16.7bn set aside at this time last year, when the compensation pool reached $527,192 per Goldman employee. In the third quarter, compensation and benefits expenses were $3.8bn, down 28 per cent from the $5.35bn in the same period last year. But the numbers are still likely to ignite fury as Britons brace themselves for job losses across the public sector as a result of today's savage Comprehensive Spending Review.

Goldman set a pay record in 2007 but has since come under intense pressure from politicians and shareholders to cut back following the worst financial crisis since the great depression of the 1930s.

Goldman, which employs 5,500 staff in Britain, posted net income of $1.9bn in the three months to September 30, down from $3bn in the same period a year ago. The performance was better than Wall Street analysts had expected, however, thanks to lower costs.

The chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, described it as "solid" against a "challenging" economic backdrop. Goldman has faced unprecedented criticism recently, not least in the wake of its $550m fraud settlement with US regulators over a debt product that it created.

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