Brace yourselves, according to this entry over on BloggingStocks.com, the big financial firms stand poised to dole out roughly $38 billion in bonuses this year. Yes, that is a b at the beginning of the word after $38. All this cabbage for firms that have seen their market caps reduce by $74 billion . . . makes a lot of sense. As the blogger notes, the largest piece of this cash will be given to the bankers who handled IPOs and mergers.
In the entry, Bloomberg is quoted as saying, In the first nine months of 2007, Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Merrill, Lehman and Bear Stearns told their share holders that they set aside $52.4 billion for compensation, up 9 percent from a year earlier. Now, it is also noted that Wall Street management will argue that executives in sections of their firms which did well should not have to take compensation cuts because a few divisions had huge losses. However, I was always told that perception is the better part of reality, and the perception here is going to be that these big bosses were given a major bonus check after the recent subprime debacle. In fact, the blog post states that Morgan Stanley saw its shares contract 35% this year and Bear Stearns shares are 40% lower. There is no better way to alienate your shareholders than to give out substantial bonuses while profits drop. Let me leave you with this data morsel, the expected $38 billion in bonuses would be enough to give all 186,000 workers at Goldman Sachs, MS, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, and BSC an average of $201,500 per person; obviously not merit-based compensation.