Trader Talk

Goldman's Announcement Now A 'Bonus' To Critics

Goldman Sachs announcement that they will pay their top 30 managers their 2009 bonuses in restricted stock is an appropriate response to the concerns about executive pay, but don't kid yourself: it is unlikely to quell the criticism of Goldman or the banking industry.

Goldman Sachs

The problem: they are still paying out an estimated $20 b in bonuses to the other 31,000 employees of the firm--it's been estimated that those are on track to earn an average of more than $700,000 apiece this year, the most in its history.

That will not mollify critics, who range in opinion from saying more employees should receive restricted stock instead of bonus pay, to those who say no bonus should be paid, all the way to those who say all senior management should be fired, at all the big banks.

Still, the tide is clearly on the side of reform. The U.K. government unveiled plans to levy a 50 percent tax on bankers' bonuses. The clawback programs that allow Goldman to take back shares from the 30 managers if they failed to properly account for risk are also in place at rivals such as Morgan Stanley and UBS AG



Questions?  Comments?