Staff at Goldman Sachs staff can look forward to the biggest bonus payouts in the firm's 140-year history after a spectacular first half of the year, sparking concern that the big investment banks which survived the credit crunch will derail financial regulation reforms.
A lack of competition and a surge in revenues from trading foreign currency, bonds and fixed-income products has sent profits at Goldman Sachs soaring, according to insiders at the firm.
Staff in London were briefed last week on the banking and securities company's prospects and told they could look forward to bumper bonuses if, as predicted, it completed its most profitable year ever. Figures next month detailing the firm's second-quarter earnings are expected to show a further jump in profits. Warren Buffett, who bought $5bn of the company's shares in January, has already made a $1bn gain on his investment.
In April, Goldman said it would set aside half of its £1.2bn first-quarter profit to reward staff, much of it in bonuses. It is believed to have paid 973 bankers $1m or more last year, while this year's payouts are on track to be the highest for most of the bank's 28,000 staff, including about 5,400 in London.
Ok, so a "A lack of competition and a surge in revenues from trading foreign currency, bonds and fixed-income products has sent profits at Goldman Sachs soaring." How will politicians spin this, I wonder:
No, Mr. Cable, the Federal Reserve created the culture of excessive leverage. Without all of the cheap money provided by the Fed, no such excessive leverage could have existed!
Critics of the bonus culture in the City said the dominance of a few risk-taking investment banks is undermining the efforts of regulators to stabilise the financial system. Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman, said: "The investment banks more than any other institutions created the culture of excessive leverage, excessive risk and excessive bonuses that led to the downfall of the financial system. Now they are cashing in and the same bonus culture has returned. The result must be that we are being pushed to the edge of another crash."
You can't blame Goldman Sachs for taking advantage of our Government's asinine monetary policies. But that is exactly what will happen, you can bet on it -- stay tuned for updates.
"These banks are intermediaries in the bond markets where governments and companies are raising billions of pounds of new money. There is also a lack of competition that means they can charge huge sums for doing business."
Last week, the firm predicted that President Barack Obama's government could issue $3.25tn of debt before September, almost four times last year's sum. Goldman, a prime broker of US government bonds, is expected to make hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from selling and dealing in the bonds.