And The 'Mother' Of All Bonuses Will Be Paid At.....

Goldman Sachs, of course.

According to CNBC's Charles Gaspario, around 50 Goldman execs will be paid bonuses of $25m or more. Gasparino said this week that 'let's face it, Goldman Sachs is the premier investment bank on Wall Street. It is the premier trading house on Wall Street, and is the place that apparently pays its people the best......This is why every mother wants their kids to work at Goldman Sachs'. Around a dozen folks at both Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are thought likely to receive payments as big as $25m.

And the CEOs at the big US firms are likely to do very well this year too. Lehman boss Richard Fulds has just been granted a $186m stock award over 10 years, but, according to The New York Post, is also likely to rake in up to $40m for his efforts at the office this year. Merrill boss Stan O'Neal got $35.5m last year, and should hit the $40m mark for 2006. Goldman chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein is also expected to get close to $40m. Morgan Stanley's John Mack is thought likely to pull in close to $35m or so, after bagging $28m last year.

But spare a thought for those executives over at JPMorgan who, according to Bloomberg, 'declined an offer in March to get (their) bonuses at a fixed exchange rate based on a nine-month average of their local currencies versus the dollar'. The dollar's decline against the pound could mean that a senior banker receiving a $2.3m bonus will lose as much as $300,000 when it is converted to sterling.

Finally, before we get too carried away on the subject of bonuses, we should bear in mind the insight provided by Armstrong International partner Matthew Osborne. Bloomberg reports that the recruiter said in a recent interview that there remains a lot of uncertainty about the second half of 2007, and how it will pan out. He wondered if  '2006 will be remembered as the best bonus season for many of this year's senior generation'.

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