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Goldman’s Nine-Month Pay Cost Declines to $292,836 Per Employee

Goldman’s Nine-Month Pay Cost Declines to $292,836
Traders work in the Goldman Sachs booth at the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 18, 2011. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. set aside $10 billion to pay employees in this year’s first nine months, down 24 percent from the same period last year as revenue slid and the firm cut jobs.

The compensation expense, which includes salaries, bonuses, stock awards and benefits, was equivalent to $292,836 for each of the company’s 34,200 workers as of Sept. 30. A year earlier Goldman Sachs employed 35,400 people, who shared about $13.1 billion, or $370,706 each, for the nine-month period.

Goldman Sachs is among firms that have been targeted by lower Manhattan protests, called Occupy Wall Street, that seek to call attention to the income disparity between the wealthiest 1 percent of the population and everyone else. Related demonstrations took place on four continents over the weekend. Sixty-seven percent of New York City voters support the movement, according to a Quinnipiac University survey yesterday.

Goldman Sachs, which set a Wall Street pay record for a securities firm before converting to a bank in response to the financial crisis, may cut compensation for the second year in a row as declining markets sap trading revenue. After setting aside 39 percent of revenue for compensation in 2010, the company has allocated 44 percent of revenue for pay and benefits so far this year. Revenue for this year’s first nine months fell 25 percent $22.8 billion.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank by assets, reported last week that it reduced its investment bank’s workforce by almost 4 percent in the third quarter and cut employee compensation costs 28 percent. The investment bank’s compensation expense, which includes salaries, bonuses and benefits, was enough to give each of the division’s employees $289,611 for the nine-month period.

The average compensation figures are derived by dividing the overall compensation pool by the number of employees, and they don’t represent individual workers’ actual pay. Investment banks set aside revenue throughout the year for pay and typically decide bonuses at year-end.

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