Every once in a while, we’ll hear about the outrageous compensation practices on Wall Street. Generically, we’ll also hear that pay has to be high in order for banks to be able to compete for talent.
But beyond that, compensation policy is largely a mystery.
Proxy statements, annual reports, and compensation policy reports will provide extensive details on how pay is determined. But upon close examination, the readers are still left with more questions.
UBS just published it’s 2011 annual report along with its compensation report. The section “Benchmarking against peers” caught our eye.
We noticed that Goldman Sachs was missing here. Shareholders would probably have no problem with this because Goldman bankers are well known for being among the highest paid in the world.
But what about other banks like BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, and Wells Fargo?
Does the peer group UBS uses to benchmark its pay accurately reflect competitive pay practices?
From their compensation report:
We benchmark Group compensation and benefit levels against those of our peers. With respect to compensation for GEB members, we refer to a peer group of companies that are selected based on the comparability of their size, geographic spread, product and services scope, and staffing and pay strategy, among other factors. These companies, which are large European and US banks operating internationally, are our main competitors when it comes to hiring.