Bankers at Goldman Sachs reap rewards as profits more than double to $27bn

Pay and bonuses for each employee averaged just over $400k for 2021, up $75k on the year before

Last modified on Tue 18 Jan 2022 11.59 EST

Goldman Sachs paid its 43,900 bankers more than $17bn (£12.5bn) last year, a 33% increase on 2020 as the investment bank celebrated a more than doubling of pre-tax profits to $27bn thanks to frenzied dealmaking on both sides of the Atlantic.

The pay and bonuses hike works out at about $403,000 for each employee on average, up from about $328,000 a year ago. It is the most the bank has paid out in wages and bonuses since 2007 at the height of the banking boom leading up to the financial crisis.

Goldman’s bankers will find out exactly how much they will personally collect for 2021 on Wednesday when the firm reveals annual bonuses on so-called “comp day”.

About 400 leading bosses – or the top 1% of the firm – are expected to receive a special one-off pandemic bonus in recognition of the bank’s success during the coronavirus crisis. The bonuses for this elite group are expected to range from the low single digit million to tens of millions of dollars, according to Bloomberg sources. Goldman declined to comment.

David Solomon, Goldman’s chief executive, is likely to see his pay rocket compared with last year when his compensation was cut by $10m over the bank’s role in the 1MDB scandal. He collected total pay of $17.5m in 2020, compared with $27.5m in 2019.

Banks on both sides of the Atlantic have been rapidly raising pay and bonuses in recent months in a tussle for top talent as corporate deal-making continues to boom.

Last summer Goldman increased pay for its junior bankers after they complained about “inhumane” working conditions and 100-hour weeks.

The pay of first-year analysts, who previously received close to $70,000 in base pay, increased to $110,000 before bonuses. Second-year analysts saw their pay rise to $125,000.

Goldman’s shares fell 8% on Wall Street as profits in the bank’s final quarter were lower than expected. It record profits of $3.9bn, or $10.81 a share compared with analysts’ predictions of $11.76. Annual pre-tax operating profits rose to $27bn, from $12.5bn a year earlier. Full year revenues came in at $59.3bn, a 33% increase on 2020.

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