Hit or miss? Was Goldman Sachs' pay cap for London-based staff a smart move?

Golden offer: On Monday, US investment banking colossus Goldman Sachs waded into the escalating row over UK banking bonuses by imposing a £1m 'pay cap' on its London-based partners.

The bank claimed the move was proof it was showing 'restraint', but critics noted that more non-partner staff were still set to receive multimillion-pound bonuses each. Goldman also imposed this limit for just one year in light of Alistair Darling's temporary bonus tax.

HOW I SEE IT - Stewart Prosser, Prosser Associates (ex-Lehman Brothers comms head in Europe and Asia)

Goldman appears to have taken an unprecedented and positive step in leading the investment banking community slowly back to rehabilitation in the public's eyes.

It realised that its licence to operate in the public markets of the future would depend on putting its bonuses where its mouth is.

Of course, £1m pay caps may hardly seem a significant gesture when set against the average national wage, but shattering the normal expectations of these most senior of bankers will be engendering real discomfort and pause for thought.

The longer-term commitment to acting on public opinion has yet to be tested, but this reputation-changing move should set a precedent for those institutions based closer to home.


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