Goldman Sachs pay dips as salary overhaul sought

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfien. Picture: Getty
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfien. Picture: Getty
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Average pay shared out by Goldman Sachs staff fell by 4 per cent in 2013 amid what its boss called a “challenging environment”, but it still worked out at more than $383,000 (£234,000).

Some 6,000 UK employees of the US banking giant were among those to share in the $12.61 billion pay and bonuses pot for the year, but the sum was 2 per cent lower than the year before.

News of the remuneration came as the group looks to hand substantial rises in basic pay to hundreds of London-based staff as it contends with new EU caps on bankers’ bonuses.

It is thought that the move from variable to fixed pay would affect the bank’s most senior City staff.

Under the Brussels-imposed cap, in most cases banks would be forbidden from paying a bonus of more than 100 per cent of an employee’s salary. There would be provision for exceptions, with top bankers receiving a bonus of up to 200 per cent of salary if approved by shareholders.

With Goldman’s staff numbers rising 2 per cent to 32,900 it meant average remuneration was squeezed to $383,374 in 2013 from $399,506 the year before.

The fall is unlikely to attract much sympathy among the wider public, especially as the compensation and benefits figure for the fourth quarter – as Wall Street banks made final decisions on bonuses – rose 11 per cent to $2.19bn.

Details emerged as Goldman revealed profits for the October-December period dropped 21 per cent to $2.25bn as revenue from mortgages and trading in financial instruments weakened.

But earnings were still better than expected, as were revenues, which fell 5 per cent to $8.78bn.

Chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said that the group had worked to keep costs down “to provide solid returns even in a somewhat challenging environment”.

The decline came despite a 22 per cent jump in revenues from Goldman’s investment banking business in the fourth quarter to $1.72bn.

For 2013 as a whole, profits across the company were up 6 per cent to $7.73bn on 2012.