Goldman executives get big 2009 payouts from investment funds

Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd Blankfein and other top executives, pressured by public outrage to slash their bonuses, still received tens of millions of dollars in distributions from an internal investment fund in 2009.

Blankfein received $18.7 million (Dh68.62m) in distributions from investment funds open to executives and employees of the firm, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. Goldman Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn received $15.1m,Chief Financial Officer David Viniar $11.5m, and former President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Winkelried $9.8m, the filing said.

The distributions came to $55.1m, more than double the $24.2m total in 2008 when $9.6m went to Blankfein, $6.3m to Cohn, $5.1m to Viniar and $3.2m to Winkelried. The executives did not receive bonuses in 2008.

A Goldman spokesman declined to comment, but noted that the distributions were not compensation from the firm.

The dominant Wall Street firm said in a regulatory filing last month that it would pay Blankfein and other top executives all-stock bonuses valued at $8.9m for 2009, when Goldman posted a record annual profit.

The stock bonuses were considered restrained for Goldman, which faced sharp public criticism for employee payouts after the US government bailed out banks reeling from the 2008 crisis. Goldman also curbed compensation at the end of 2009, causing the firm to fall well shy of the $20 billion it paid out in 2007.

But according to the regulatory filing, Goldman’s top executives were able to make up for the disappointing bonuses with millions of dollars in distributions from the internal investment funds.

The funds managed by Goldman Sachs are available to clients, and certain executives and other employees. The funds invest in private equity, venture capital and other assets.

On Friday, Goldman also said former Wal-Mart Stores Chief Executive H Lee Scott Jr is primed to join its board, and will be up for election at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting. Rajat Gupta, who has served on the board since 2006, will not seek reelection, it added.

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