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Goldman Sachs staff share $15bn payout

Wall Street banking giant Goldman Sachs has revealed that staff earned a total of $15.4bn (£9.6bn) in pay and bonuses last year - equivalent to around £270,000 per employee.

The total figure represents a 5% decline on the previous year's pot, but the share of revenues paid out in salary and benefits for 2010 was up from 35.8% at 39.3%.

The firm, which employs around 6,000 staff in the UK who are all eligible for performance-related bonuses, posted a 38% drop in net earnings to $8.35bn (£5.23bn) for the year to December 31. This followed a 13% decline in revenues to $39.16bn (£24.51bn).

The figures are the latest in the annual results season for major US banks and will be watched closely on these shores as UK banks prepare to release their own figures next month.

Goldman Sachs took $10bn (£6.2bn) from the US Treasury at the height of the financial crisis but has since paid the money back, with taxpayers earning $1.4bn (£865m) on the investment.

In the UK, the bank is trying to rebuild its reputation after it was fined £17.5m by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for failing to tell the regulator that Goldman trader Fabrice Tourre was under investigation when he took a job at the bank's London office in 2008.

Goldman has recently been in the spotlight for its dealings with Facebook - the bank invested $500m (£312m) in the social networking giant.