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Goldman staff await bumper bonus payout

INVESTMENT bankers at Goldman Sachs are expecting a bumper year for bonuses on the back of soaring profits at the Wall Street firm, in a sign that there will be no end to bumper payouts for bankers.<br /><br />The firm expects to book record profits for 2009, with revenues soaring due to dwindling competition and strong performances in fixed income and foreign currency.<br /><br />Staff at the firm&rsquo;s London offices were told last week that they could expect a large bonus on the back of Goldman&rsquo;s success, barring a dramatic turnaround in the bank&rsquo;s fortunes.<br /><br />Goldman Sachs booked a first quarter profit of $827m (&pound;500m) in investment banking this year, compared with the $2bn profit it made for the entirety of 2008.<br /><br />The group said earlier this year that half of the $2.3bn profit booked by the group in the first quarter would be devoted to remuneration, much of it in the form of bonuses.<br /><br />Nearly 1,000 Goldman bankers are thought to have received bonuses of more than $1m last year, but this year&rsquo;s payouts could be even heftier, despite the firm&rsquo;s decision to revise its rewards scheme.<br /><br />The firm has moved from a system of guaranteed bonuses doled out after three years to sliding-scale payments dependent on staff staying with the firm. Profit-related bonuses will also be deferred by 12 months.<br /><br />The scale of the payouts will fuel whispers that the much-vaunted curbing of the bonus culture has been a flash in the pan, with soaring profits at investment banking divisions putting paid to the chances of reform.<br /><br />Barclays Capital, led by Bob Diamond, has already paid out around &pound;600m to staff this year, as it recorded a bumper first quarter in which profits skyrocketed by 361 per cent to &pound;907m.