Goldman Sachs floats with shares for all

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The Independent Online
GOLDMAN SACHS yesterday confirmed its plans to float on the stock market and unlock unparalleled wealth for almost 200 of its employees. The US investment bank will end its 129-year history as a private company, with a shares bonanza for 190 of of its partners worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Each could receive a staggering $80m (pounds 54m) worth of shares, making them the recipients of one of the biggest payouts in corporate history. The lucky few include 36 based in London, including Gavyn Davies, the leading UK economist. But it is not just the partners, most of whom are already millionaires, who will profit. The bank said yesterday that it plans to distribute shares to all its employees, no matter how junior.

Industry observers reckon that bankers in the so-called "marzipan layer" - that is, one step below the coveted status of partners - could each receive paper windfalls of as much as $8m (pounds 6m). More junior employees, such as clerical and technical support staff, are likely to receive far less, although sources close to the firm stress that all permanent employees should benefit in some way. Precise details of the share sale windfalls will not be known until later this summer.

Critics of the move believe the partners are motivated by self-interest, and say the share sale will destroy the bank's unique partnership culture.

Golden windfall, page 6 Business, page 17