Goldman’s UK chief awarded bonus of £9m

Steve Dinneen
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MICHAEL Sherwood, Goldman Sachs’ head of UK and Europe, has been awarded a bonus of $14.4m (£9m).

The payment of free shares, which will not fully vest until 2016, dwarf even the bonus paid to Goldman chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

Sherwood’s payout represents a 60 per cent premium on his stock award the year before, according to filings with US regulators.

The 45-year-old banker from Highgate joined Goldman in 1985.

The move has been seen as the latest sign that US banks are moving away from some of the austerities imposed by the financial crisis.

Blankfein saw Goldman triple his base salary and award him $12.6m of stock. He is now receives base pay of $2m, up from $600,000 last year.

The shares awarded to Blankfein amount to a 42 per cent increase from the $8.9m all-stock bonus he received for 2009.

However, this year’s bonus is far below the $67.9m he received for 2007.

Goldman also raised the salaries of chief financial officer David Viniar and chief operating officer Gary Cohn to $1.85m. Both executives previously earned a base salary of $600,000.

The pay hikes came even after the bank’s profit fell 38 per cent in 2010 to $8.35bn.

Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) boss Stephen Hester looks set to receive far less than his US counterparts.

Despite a government call for an end to banker bashing, his bonus – expected to be around £1m – is likely to be paid into a new “share bank” scheme, which could deny him a cash bonus for the duration of his tenure at the lender.

The scheme will tie his bonus to a series of strict performance targets. If adopted it could also affect RBS’s chief financial officer Bruce Van Saun.