Goldman CFO David Viniar said today that he has no "magic formula" for pay this year, and that it would depend on a number of factors, including the firm's performance, competition and mostly "the world around us."
"We will try to strike the right balance going forward," he told the Credit Suisse Financial Services Conference. Goldman's 2009 compensation costs amounted to 36 percent of its net revenue, well below historical averages near 50 percent. Rival Morgan Stanley, which reported a net loss for 2009, paid out 62 percent of its revenue as compensation. Its new CEO, James Gorman, vowed last week to bring the ratio down substantially. Viniar said Goldman did not target a compensation ratio. "We try to pay our people fairly," he said.