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Wall Street bankers facing pay cuts as profits fall

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Pay on Wall Street is falling as fast as big banks' profits and revenues for the first quarter.

Goldman Sachs cut pay 40 percent year over year, the bank revealed on its first-quarter earnings call Tuesday. Compensation went from $4.45 billion in the first quarter of 2015 to $2.66 billion in the first quarter of this year. The upside is that staff was only reduced by 1 percent over the same time frame.

The bank suffered a 23 percent drop in investment banking revenue in the first quarter. Fixed income trading revenue fell 47 percent to $1.66 billion and equities trading declined 23 percent as well, generating $1.78 billion. It translates into Goldman's lowest revenue tally since late 2011.

"This is a performance-driven culture and our performance wasn't great" in the first quarter, Goldman CFO Harvey Schwartz said to an analyst. He added later, "I certainly won't sit here and tell you we're happy about this quarter."