Wall Street Planning On Paying $20 BILLION In Bonuses

Well, of course, right? I mean a job well done deserves a bonus!

Bloomberg: Five straight quarters of losses and a 70 per cent slide in its stock this year haven’t stopped Merrill Lynch & Co. from allocating about $6.7 billion to pay bonuses.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, both still on track for profitable years, have set aside about $13 billion for bonuses after three quarters, down 28 per cent from a year ago. Even some employees at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which declared the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history last month, will get the same bonus they received a year ago.

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, a $700 billion taxpayer bailout, public outcry over excessive pay and the demise of three of the biggest securities firms won’t deter Wall Street from offering year-end rewards to employees on top of their salaries, compensation experts say.

“Critical producers and critical managers will be retained with the same bonus they had last year,” said Robert Sloan, head of U.S. financial-services recruiting at Egon Zehnder International, a New York-based executive-search firm. “The others will see sharp cuts.”

Goldman, the biggest and most profitable Wall Street firm until it opted to become a bank holding company last month, has set aside about $6.85 billion for bonuses, or an average of $210,300 for each employee, down 32 per cent from $339,400 a year ago. Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest securities firm until it also converted to a bank, has $6.44 billion for bonuses, or $138,700 per person, down 20 per cent from last year. Both firms accrue a fixed percentage of their revenue for compensation, so the decline in bonus pools matches the drop in revenue.

…”We are in the process of determining appropriate levels of year-end compensation, and no decisions have been made,” said Mark Lake, a spokesman at Morgan Stanley. 

I bet if you go to the unemployment office you might be able to find a few people with some suggestions.

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