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Goldman Said to Weigh Delaying U.K. Bonuses From Prior Years

Goldman Said to Weigh Delaying U.K. Bonuses From Previous Years
Pedestrians pass Mercury House, the main entrance to the Goldman Sachs offices at 133 Fleet Street in London. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is considering whether to delay delivery of some bonuses due from prior years for U.K. employees until after top income-tax rates fall on April 6, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The postponement would affect incentive compensation deferred from 2009, 2010 and 2011 and benefit those whose tax rates are set to decline from 50 percent to 45 percent, said the person, who requested anonymity because a decision hasn’t been made. The delay wouldn’t affect bonuses awarded for 2012, the person said.

The move would resemble the company’s decision last month to accelerate delivery of $65 million in stock awards to senior managers in the U.S., including Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein, 58, to help them avoid higher tax rates that took effect this year. New York-based Goldman Sachs, the fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, typically delivers executives’ restricted stock during January.

Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, declined to comment. The Financial Times reported yesterday that the bank was weighing whether to defer the bonus payments.

About half of the top 20 banks in the U.K. had considered delaying payouts, the FT reported, citing bankers and compensation consultants whom it didn’t identify.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne reduced the top tax rate, saying in his March 21 budget that the higher levy generated little revenue and encouraged avoidance.

“No chancellor can justify a tax rate that damages our economy and raises next to nothing -- it’s as simple as that,” he told the House of Commons in London at the time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harper in New York at charper@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net

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