Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs has become the first major investment bank to reveal that the average salary for its staff has topped half a million dollars.
The figure, reported in the Independent on Sunday, was disclosed in the company's latest regulatory filings, which also revealed that it paid out $11.7bn (£6.7bn) to its 22,425 employees last year.
Hank Paulson, the chairman and chief executive, was paid $38m in salary, shares and options - a 21 per cent increase on 2004. An average figure per staff member of $521,000 bursts through a barrier not even breached during the dot-com boom in 1999 and 2000.
This is a 12 per cent increase on the $466,000 average disclosed for 2004. It is twice the level of average pay at rivals Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.
Wall Street banks are paying out a record $21.5bn in bonuses for 2005, according to New York State figures. That dwarfs 2004's $18.6bn and tops the previous record of $19.5bn in 2000. The average bonus in 2005 was $125,500 - some $25,000 more than in 2000.