Friday, January 22, 2010

Outside Goldman, Bomb-Sniffers and Barricades

"The public outrage over Wall Street’s rich bonus culture apparently had Goldman Sachs so rattled that the bank had police barricades and bomb-sniffing dogs outside of 85 Broad St. Thursday, as it prepared to release earnings, The New York Post reported.

In a surprising concession to the public outcry over big Wall Street bonuses, Goldman broke with the longtime industry practice of earmarking roughly half of its annual revenue for compensation. Indeed, the bank did the unthinkable for the final months of 2009: It subtracted about $500 million from its pay pool, rather than add more money to it, even though the bank earned a healthy $4.95 billion for the quarter, above Wall Street expectations.

Goldman’s chief, Lloyd C. Blankfein made no public appearance on Thursday as Goldman disclosed its 2009 financial results. Instead, in a terse statement, he referred to the full-throated outcry under way from Washington against Wall Street’s big paydays while the rest of the economy was still suffering: “Recognition of the broader environment,” he said, had prompted the firm to moderate what it could have paid its employees."

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