Stratospheric Earnings: Goldman Sachs Tops Bonuses in 2013

US investment bank Goldman Sachs paid its senior executives the most lucrative bonuses of all UK-based banks in 2013, statistics compiled by Reuters suggest.

The bank’s employees in key high-ranking executive and risk-taking roles were given bonuses of £2.57 million on average – approximately twice the amount awarded by other banks based in Britain.

Reuters’ research, published earlier this week, contrasted salaries doled out by 13 prominent investment banks operating in London. The survey spanned a total of 2,600 City of London employees.

The study also revealed 2,600 City bankers were paid over £3.4 billion in 2013, almost 50 times the average yearly salary in Britain.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC), a federation of trade unions throughout England and Wales, criticized Goldman Sachs, insisting the time had come for its employees’ bonuses to come “back to planet earth.”

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is 79 percent owned by the British state, paid its staff more moderately. Reuters’ research shows senior employees and key risk-takers working for the bank were offered on average £600,000.

Bonus cap or regulatory farce?

The City of London is billed as the investment banking capital of the world. Britain is home to the vast majority of large investment banks throughout Europe. In a highly competitive financial climate, analysts suggest Goldman Sachs paid its senior executives and risk-takers 100 percent more on average than rival banks such as JP Morgan and Citi in an effort to lure and keep the sector’s leading talent.

Goldman’s hefty bonuses in Britain were found to eclipse the average bonus the investment bank paid to its US-based employees. The discrepancy may cause tension within the firm when US staff realize they took home less in 2013than their UK counterparts.

Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

The bank’s 2013 bonuses offered in Britain may mark the peak of City gratuities for the foreseeable future as the figures relate specifically to earnings prior to the introduction of an EU-wide bonus cap.

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