Goldman's 100 UK partners make do with £1m each
Goldman Sachs' 100 UK-based partners are capping their pay and bonuses for 2009 at £1m each.
For many of them, this represents a significant sacrifice. I am told that in aggregate they are giving up pay worth several hundred million pounds.
They are doing it, according to one executive, because they wanted to be seen to be exercising the restraint on remuneration which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has urged on all bankers.
That said, many executives ranked below partner will be earning much more than £1m each. Goldman did not feel it could insist they take a pay cut, because that might have damaged its ability to recruit and retain more able bankers.
Goldman will be paying many hundreds of millions of pounds in bonuses to staff ranked below the level of partner who are based in Britain.
That is incontrovertible because Goldman has again confirmed to me that it will be paying the Exchequer several hundred million pounds for its contribution to Alistair Darling's one-off bonus tax - and that tax is levied at a rate of 50 per cent of the total value of big bonuses.
Goldman employees will this week be told precisely how much each of them earned for the firm's near record trading performance in 2009.
The big British banks, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, have not yet fixed the size of its employees' bonuses. However Barclays has decided that its top executives will receive 75 per cent of their bonuses - and 100 per cent for the most senior people - in staggered payments over three years.
The UK watchdog, the Financial Services Authority, is vetting all bonus payments worth more than £1m for British-based bankers. The FSA is insisting that at least 60 per cent of such payments should be deferred for up to three years.
The bankers to whom I've spoken over the weekend are still reeling from President Obama's announcement that he wants to limit the size of banks and force them out of a series of activities - hedge funds, private equity and proprietary trading - that he regards as too risky and speculative.
Bankers intend to fight the reforms, with a lobbying effort that will begin at the World Economic Forum, the annual shindig at Davos in Switzerland of business leaders and politicians that takes place this week.
"I really wouldn't assume that Obama will get this stuff through Congress" said one banker.
British based bankers say that Obama's reforms - and his announcement earlier in the month of a new tax on banks' wholesale liabilities to raise more than $100bn - has slightly lessened bankers' ire at the British government over the imposition of its bonus tax. But only slightly.
"With regard to Darling's tax, the way I would put it," said one banker, "is that it is like finding out your wife has been having an affair. You forgive her, but you never forget."
This weekend, Alistair Darling confirmed - in an interview in the Sunday Times - that he is profoundly unenthusiastic about President Obama's plans to break up banks and limit their size.