Goldman Sachs is to pay out $16.2bn (£10bn) in bonuses for 2009, an average of more than £300,000 per employee.
That is a rise of 37% up on 2008, although Goldman’s compensation figure as a percentage of its revenues was 35.8%, its lowest to date.
The investment bank paid $519m, which would have been earmarked for benefits, into its charitable fund Goldman Sachs Gives, and senior figures at the bank said they had listened to public concerns over banks’ pay in announcing the figures.
The bank’s finance director, David Viniar, said it had “shown restraint” in announcing the size of the bonus pot, despite the fact that it was higher than last year.
But TUC general secretary Brendan Barber hit out at the size of the awards. He said: “Goldman Sachs wants us to believe that its bonus payments are modest. But the truth is that we have set up an international welfare state for super-rich bankers.
“They pay themselves mega bonuses when times are good and expect the rest of us to bail them out when times are tough – even though it was the finance sector that has thrown the world into recession.”
It has emerged that 5,500 staff at the bank’s London office may have their bonuses curtailed as Goldman asks its UK workers to take the hit on Chancellor Alastair Darling’s bonus tax.
Overall, the company made $4.95bn (£3.06bn) between September and December last year.