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Goldman Sachs staff in line for big bonuses

Goldman Sachs, which has just reported a third-quarter profit of more than $3 billion, is set to reward staff with bonus payments that of more than $500,000 each, according to media reports.

The investment bank has already set aside almost $17 billion for staff bonuses this year, a figure that is likely to break the $20 billion mark by the end of 2009.

Its staff of around 30,000 employees across the world are set to receive the largest bonus payouts in the company's history.

Because the bank has repaid the $10 billion it took from the government in bailout funds, it is no longer subject to the pay restrictions that have been imposed on the likes of Bank of America and Citigroup.

It will be those at the top of the company who are likely to be most richly rewarded.

In 2008, the top 200 employees received average payouts of around $5 million each, compared to a company average of $364,000, reports Reuters.

Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs agreed to curb bonus payouts to UK staff from next year.

By Claire Archer