Blankfein’s eight-figure bonus

By Felix Salmon
February 1, 2010
Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs 'expecting $100 million bonus'":

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I’ve landed in London, where I woke up this morning to a classic piece of British journalism, under the headline “Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs ‘expecting $100 million bonus’“:

Goldman Sachs, the world’s richest investment bank, could be about to pay its chief executive a bumper bonus of up to $100 million in defiance of moves by President Obama to take action against such payouts.

Bankers in Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF) told The Times yesterday they understood that Lloyd Blankfein and other top Goldman bankers outside Britain were set to receive some of the bank’s biggest-ever payouts. “This is Lloyd thumbing his nose at Obama,” said a banker at one of Goldman’s rivals.

It goes without saying, of course, that Goldman’s rivals couldn’t possibly know what Blankfein’s bonus is going to be. And given Goldman’s record-low compensation ratio this year, along with the bank’s cap on bonuses in the UK, it frankly boggles the imagination that he’s going to get anywhere near $100 million. Goldman knows that bonuses are a hot-button issue politically, and it’s going to keep them (relatively, by its standards) modest for 2009.

Blankfein — who hardly needs the money — knows full well that he can’t, this of all years, pay himself the largest bonus ever received by a bank CEO in the history of the world. As a result, his bonus is going to be less than the $68 million he made in 2007. It’ll probably be in the eight figures, but it won’t be anywhere near $100 million. No matter what Helen Power heard from gossipy bankers in Davos.


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Felix, ya know you’re definitely one of my favorite bloggers, and I hate to do this, but I’m pretty sure $100,000,000 is nine figures.

Posted by sheredlk | Report as abusive

Well, yes, it is. And my point is that Blankfein’s bonus isn’t.

Come on, Lloyd! Don’t give into this politically-correct, namby-pamby, populist anger nonsense. You have earned and deserve every penny of that bonus.

Whose idea was it to neatly bundle those dogshi* mortgages so they could be sold to the firm’s clients?? Whose idea was it to then short those very same bundles hard?? Yours, Lloyd!

Who pushed AIG over the cliff with hyper-aggressive CDO writedowns and calls for more and more collateral?? Who mobilized the firm’s alumni at the Fed, Treasury, Congress, and the White House to make sure Goldman’s backdoor bailout was Government Priority #1? And who convinced the feds to let Goldman become a bank holding company so it could take advantage of all those big, fat, juicy government subsidies?? You did, Lloyd!

So go ahead and go hog wild, Lloyd, and lay claim to your 9-figure cash** bonus.

**Yes, insist on cash only. Nine figures in restricted stock with a clawback provision is beneath you, Lloyd.

Posted by GovernmentSachs | Report as abusive