While Goldman Sachs employees may get less compensation than in the past, many cashed in last year for a payday they’ve been awaiting since the depths of the financial crisis.
Bloomberg News reports that employees exercised options worth $2.03bn in 2014. More than 96% of the contracts were granted as part of 2008 compensation. Last year marked the first time bankers were able to take advantage of those awards.
Goldman Sachs’s stock has more than doubled since it granted 36 million options in December 2008 to give top performers incentive to stay. The bank had been forced to slash compensation costs that year, as a global credit crisis endangered the firm and pushed its shares down 61%.
The more-than $2bn total disclosed in a regulatory filing this week is the pretax gain from exercising the options. Recipients - who can choose to keep the stock or convert it to cash -- may include former employees who left the company after receiving the options.
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