David Kirkpatrick

February 4, 2009

Those Wall Street bonuses

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:01 pm

There’s been a lot of ink — actual and virtual — spilled over the bonuses paid out on Wall Street, particularly after the bailout. I’ve been guilty of the very thing even though I knew the reality wasn’t nearly as bad as it was easy to make it seem.

To my defense I only complained about post-bailout bonusing that either just looked very bad PR-wise, or came from companies that wouldn’t have any money to bonus with at all if that cash hadn’t come from the taxpayers pocket.

At the same time I never spent much time on the other side of the coin. A good example is a holiday party mid-December where I spent a good while talking to a trader at a major, and solvent, investment banker who is getting stiffed for six figures of earned bonuses over all of last year because of the bailout and various terms and conditions placed on his firm. He earned the money long before the crisis or bailout, but won’t see a penny of it.

Here’s a CIO.com article with some facts and figures on Wall Street and bonuses. It might open a few eyes.

From the link:

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about the $18.4 billion worth of bonuses that Wall Street firms paid out to employees in 2008. Here are a few facts about that $18.4 billion—and Wall Street bonuses in general—that you may not know:

  • The $18.4 billion bonus pool was spread out across all Wall Street employees; it didn’t just go to top executives (if that’s any consolation), some of whom wisely forfeited their bonuses for the year, according to the New York State Comptroller’s Office, which broke the news about Wall Street bonuses on January 28.
  • A total of 165,000 employees benefitted from the bonus money, according to the Comptroller’s Office.

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