A year ago, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. wanted to make its staff share in the pain of slumping revenue. This time around, the firm’s leaders are trying to cushion the blow.
(Bloomberg) — A year ago, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. wanted to make its staff share in the pain of slumping revenue. This time around, the firm’s leaders are trying to cushion the blow.
Goldman Sachs boosted the portion of revenue it pays out to workers in the third quarter, taking its closely watched ratio to 34.5% so far this year. That means an extra $690 million over what the firm would have set aside at the rate of a year ago. This time last year, the firm dragged down the ratio amid losses from its consumer unit, a move it later had to reverse.
Chief Executive Officer David Solomon has pointed to last year’s pay slump, when overall compensation expenses fell 15%, as a factor in the internal strife that spilled into public in recent months.
“2022 was the first time in over a decade that we had a meaningful down move in compensation,” Solomon said in a CNBC interview last month. “I think that contributed to it.”
The size of the Solomon’s own checks have bounced around, too. In 2021, he had been one of the best-paid CEOs at a major US bank, thanks to a package that hit $35 million. His pay tumbled by about 30% to $25 million for 2022, when Goldman’s shares and profits dropped.
In this year’s third-quarter, Goldman’s $4.2 billion of compensation and benefits costs rose 16% from both last quarter and a year earlier. Its $11.9 billion of those expenses for the year’s first nine months was up 5%, or $513 million, even as revenue fell.
“We continue to pay for performance,” Chief Financial Officer Denis Coleman said on a call with analysts Tuesday. “It’s important that we continue to recognize and retain the talent.”
A spate of notable partners left the firm over the summer. At least five departed in the span of a few days, including Lisa Opoku, who had recently been put in charge of the bank’s family office for its own top brass. Solomon has said the level of partner turnover isn’t out of the ordinary.
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