Surprised no-one else has pick-up on this yet (Or maybe yet again I haven't read every thread). Anyway, from the Financial Times http://ft.com Goldman Sachs acknowledged on Thursday that public anger about Wall Streets bonus culture will constrain how much it will pay the top five executives of the bank, whose compensation has to be disclosed publicly. The comments by David Viniar, chief financial officer, during a conference call to discuss Goldmans $3.2bn third-quarter profits is a concession that the banks end-of-year bonus decisions will be affected by politics. So far this year Goldman has set aside $16.7bn for compensation and benefits, nearly as much as the $16.9bn it put away by the third quarter of 2007, when rewards reached record levels and Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive, earned $70m. Because the banks headcount this year is about the same as two years ago, compensation is on track to match that of 2007, when Goldman employees received $661,000 each on average. Mr Viniar said bonuses this year would be higher than in 2008, when Goldman received $10bn under the US governments troubled asset relief programme and did not pay end-of-the-year bonuses to Mr Blankfein and other top executives. Goldman made $2.3bn that year, despite suffering its first quarterly loss as a public company during the final quarter of the fiscal year. Mr Viniar, whose company paid back government money this year, said: I would expect this year would pay more than last year because our performance this year is going to be quite dramatically better than last year. When asked whether the banks top five executives would be compensated as they were in previous years, Mr Viniar suggested that that was a different matter. Speaking more generally, Mr Viniar said Goldman had to reward its employees well, to prevent them from leaving to join competitors [<- yeah, right. When do I start? I'll work for a tenth of their salary+bonus], some of whom offer multi-year bonus guarantees, a practice Goldman eschews. Our competitors are very good, and paying people quite well, and very willing to offer guaranteed bonuses of very high amounts, he said. Whaaaaaatttt!!!!! $661,000 Average Bonus??? (that makes 25000 employees). The world truly has gone insane. If I were a Goldman-Sachs shareholder I would be more than slightly p****d at these people running off with most of my dividends. Looks like capitalism is as failed a system as communism. So much for competition in the free-market. Somehow these bwankers have got the whole thing very nicely sewn up. Or maybe the FT has just got its figures wrong.