Page last updated at 23:46 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

No cash bonuses for Goldman Sachs top executives

Goldman Sachs booth at the New York Stock Exchange
Goldman says its policy is in the public's best interests

US bank Goldman Sachs has said that its 30 top executives will not receive any cash bonuses in 2009.

Their bonuses will be in the form of restricted shares, which cannot be sold for five years.

The new policy is aimed at discouraging excessive risk-taking in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Goldman said it believed its compensation policy "incentivises behaviour that is in the public's and our shareholders' best interests".

Shareholders will be able to vote on the policy at the bank's annual meeting next year.

"By subjecting our compensation principles and executive compensation to a shareholder advisory vote, we are further strengthening our dialogue with shareholders on the important issue of compensation," said Goldman chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

As for the absence of any cash bonus, well for Goldman's top bods cash was already only about 20% of typical payouts
Robert Peston, BBC business editor

The company will also be able to recapture the shares if employees engage in improper risk-taking.

Goldman has come under criticism for setting aside nearly $17bn (£10.5bn) in the first three quarters of 2009 to cover pay and bonuses, despite receiving a $10bn US government bail-out.

The bank has since repaid the government loan.

Goldman shares rose 29 cents to close at $166.73 in New York.

The UK government said that bankers in the UK who receive bonuses over £25,000 this year would be taxed at 50% "regardless of if they are in cash, shares, or any other form".

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