Goldman Sachs Pay Ratio Slips to Second-Lowest Level Since IPO

Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein is under pressure to rein in costs at the New York-based firm, which is the most reliant on trading among the biggest U.S. banks. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

The portion of revenue Goldman Sachs Group Inc. set aside last year to pay employees was the second-lowest since it became a public company, as the bank grapples with a trading slump.

Compensation, which includes salaries, bonuses and the expense of awards deferred in prior years, rose 0.6 percent from 2013 to $12.7 billion as the number of employees increased, the firm said today in a statement. That amounted to 36.8 percent of revenue compared with 36.9 percent a year earlier. The investment bank disbursed 36 percent in 2009, the least since selling stock to the public in 1999.

Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein is under pressure to rein in costs at the New York-based firm, which is the most reliant on trading among the biggest U.S. banks. In the past, he has said he’s wary of cutting too much and losing top performers.

Last year’s compensation expense is enough to pay each of Goldman Sachs’s 34,000 employees $373,265 for the year, down from $383,374 in 2013. Figures for average pay don’t represent what any employee actually gets and are calculated by dividing the total compensation expense by the number of workers.

Compensation for employees at the corporate and investment bank of JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. lender, fell 3.6 percent in 2014. The $10.8 billion represented 30 percent of revenue at the unit, which was created in 2012 when the New York-based company combined its investment bank with the corporate bank and treasury and securities-services units.

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