Last week UK’s The Guardian reported that Goldman Sachs (GS) would be paying record or near-record bonuses this year, based on word from inside the company.
It raised a lot of predictable anger, and the company denied it, saying there’s no way they’d be discussing anything like that at this point the year.
Now the WSJ has surveyed independent analysts, simply looking at profit estimates and the likely bonus formula (meaning there’s nothing to deny), who conclude that 2009 will be record, slightly topping 2007:
Based on analysts’ earnings forecasts for 2009, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is on track to pay out as much as $20 billion this year, or about $700,000 per employee. That would be nearly double the firm’s $363,000 average last year, and slightly higher than the $661,000 for the average Goldman employee in fiscal 2007, according to analyst estimates reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Morgan Stanley (MS) may also match its highs:
Morgan Stanley, the only other huge U.S. securities firm left as an independent company, will likely pay out $11 billion to $14 billion in compensation and benefits this year, analysts predict. On a per-employee basis, payouts are expected to exceed last year’s average of $262,000. Howard Chen, an analyst at Credit Suisse, projects that the company’s average pay will come close to the $340,000 paid out by Morgan Stanley in fiscal 2007.
Naturally, some think it’s way too early to assume that the second half will be “normal” whatever that means. And there’s a good chance that the mix will be different, with more compensation in restricted, long-term stock. Hmm, that might make it harder for them to buy a new condo.
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