As it prepares to pay out big bonuses to employees, Goldman Sachs is considering expanding a program that would require executives and top managers to give a certain percentage of their earnings to charity.
The move would be the latest in a series of initiatives by Goldman to soften criticism over the size of its bonuses, which are expected to be among the largest on Wall Street, bringing average pay to about $595,000 for each employee — with far higher amounts for top performers. ...
While the details of the latest charity initiative are still under discussion, the firm’s executives have been looking at expanding their current charitable requirements for months and trying to understand whether such gestures would damp public anger over pay, according to a person familiar with the matter who did not want to be identified because of the delicacy of the pay issue.
The charity idea would be similar to a decades-long program at the failed investment bank Bear Stearns, which required more than 1,000 of its top workers to give 4% of their pay to charity each year and then checked their tax returns to ensure compliance.
Assuming a similar percentage and level of participation, that would mean Goldman’s top employees would commit to giving hundreds of millions of dollars to charity, though the precise amount would depend on the level of contributions and the number of workers who are required to take part.
It could not be determined whether Goldman would create a new program for its mandated giving or run it through Goldman Sachs Gives, which oversees donor-directed charity funds for Goldman workers. That program was created in 2007, weeks before Goldman paid its chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, $68 million for that year. It required Goldman’s 400 or so partners to give an undisclosed amount to charity each year on their own or through the program.