Goldman Sachs defends huge bonuses
Wall Street banking giant Goldman Sachs has shown signs of bowing to public anger over excessive pay despite annual profits of $4.79bn.
The company rewarded its employees with $16.2bn in salaries and bonuses for 2009, up 47pc from the previous year.
But Goldman said its share of revenues paid out in salary and benefits for 2009 was 35.8pc - its lowest as a public company.
Revenues at the bank were just 2pc below the record levels achieved in 2007, but total compensation and benefits were 20pc lower than two years earlier, Goldman said.
Goldman Sachs took $10bn from the US Treasury at the height of the crisis but has since paid the money back. For the full year, Goldman earned $13.4bn, almost as much as $15bn earned by the five other big national banks combined.
The bank added that it had also contributed $500m from its pay pot to a charitable fund during the final quarter of last year.
Chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said the results represented a "strong performance" from the bank.
"That performance, as well as recognition of the broader environment, resulted in our lowest ever compensation to net revenue ratio."
Investment banks across the world have benefited from fundraisings by Governments and companies as well as the recovering prices of stock markets and other assets.
Goldman's trading revenues were "significantly higher" than the previous year at $34.7bn, driven by "strong client-driven activity", while the firm is also well-placed to benefit from any upturn in takeover activity.