Plundering the back office

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Rumour has it Goldman Sachs paid paltry bonuses to the people behind the scenes. Not true, say recruiters - although it may be elsewhere.

Last week, the New York Post ran a story claiming Goldman had paid its back and middle-office employees meagre sums amounting to just 15% of salaries, when many had been expecting 75%.

After careful digging, we can say this doesn't appear to be the case in London, where non-revenue generating Goldmanites have apparently been paid well, albeit selectively.

"It's been very mixed," says one back-office recruiter, "but I know of some VP-level people in operations at Goldman who were paid bonuses of 200%."

"The best people were paid very well indeed, but the poorest performers were paid really quite poorly," he goes on. "In areas like trade support and settlements, some got 10%."

Goldman's selective parsimony is apparently nothing compared to what's to come at the likes of a certain poorly performing Swiss bank, where top-performing VPs in trade support and settlements roles can apparently expect bonuses in the region of 50-100% and others are on track for 0-5%."

Mike Hartwell, managing director of search firm Hartwell Buck, says bonuses this year are being allocated with an eye to offshoring in the years to come: "As processes are moved offshore, banks are going to need to retrain or lose staff from functions like cash equity settlements and flow derivatives settlements. One of the quickest ways to lose them is to pay a poor bonus."

Malcolm Clark, a recruiter at search firm Bayley Needham, says the overall picture for back-office bonuses is mixed: "Some have done well, but at quite a lot of houses it's definitely looking worse than last year."

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