Goldman may give to charity

GOLDMAN Sachs could force its top brass to donate a portion of their salaries to charity in a move to quell public anger over bonus payouts.

The investment bank, which is due to hand out year-end remuneration deals next Thursday, would ask many of its 5,100 London-based staff to sign up to the programme.

It is thought Goldman could base the scheme on one operated at the failed US institution Bear Stearns, where more than 1,000 top earners were required to give four per cent of their pay packet to charity. Bear Stearns used to check its employees’ tax returns to ensure they complied.

The news suggests Goldman is keen to improve its public image amid growing fury over the size of bonuses being handed out by banks so soon after the financial crisis. Analysts estimate the firm will pay its staff up to $19bn (£11.8bn) of its $44bn global revenues for 2009 – equal to £370,000 per employee.

A programme of donations could net more than $750m for charities around the world. It would also pressure competitors to do the same.

New York Attorney General Andy Cuomo summed up the taxpayer’s view yesterday, saying: “The average American is still paying the price for this terrible economic debacle.”