"Our Children and Grandchildren are not merely statistics towards which we can be indifferent" JFK

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wall Street Compensation Sets Another Record at $135 billion (9+ miles of $1,000 bills)

Seneca Niagara Casino Hotel and Tower is 358' Tall
Stack of $1,000 bills to the Very Top of this Building equals $1 bil
Wall Street Compensation in 2010 is 135 of these buildings

The Wall Street Journal
By Aaron Lucchetti and
Stephen Grocer

When it comes to paychecks, Wall Street's law of gravity is back in full force: What goes down must come back up.

In 2010, total compensation and benefits at publicly traded Wall Street banks and securities firms hit a record of $135 billion, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal. The total is up 5.7% from $128 billion in combined compensation and benefits by the same companies in 2009.

The increase was fueled by a revenue rebound as the financial crisis recedes in the rearview mirror. At 25 large financial firms that have reported full-year results, revenue rose to $417 billion, another all-time high, even though last year's 1% increase was just a fraction of the industry's revenue jolt from 2008 to 2009 as trading and investment banking sprang back to life.

"Things are shifting back to where they were before," said J. Robert Brown, a law professor at the University of Denver who studies compensation and corporate-governance issues.

Buried in the numbers, though, are signs of how Wall Street's pay culture is bending in response to pressure from regulators and shareholders. Last year, deferred compensation made up as much as half of total pay, up from about a third previously, estimates Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates Inc., a New York pay consultant.

Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan got a 67% bump in his total compensation for 2010, the company said Monday. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. tripled the salary of Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein and increased his stock-based bonus 40% to $12.6 million. Rest of $135 Billion Record Compensation

Huffington Post Also Weighs In
Wall Street pay is rising, while income for normal Americans has stagnated.

Even as the real economy limped, financial firms paid employees a record sum last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. In 2009, the last full year data are available, average wages for Americans fell 1.5 percent from the previous year, according to the National Average Wage Index. Median household income in 2009 was "not statistically different" from 2008, according to the Census Bureau.

But total pay at Wall Street firms rose 5.7 percent in 2010, as the 25 companies that have already reported results shelled out a record $135 billion. Even as regulators pressured firms to alter compensation, prominent executives got big pay bumps, seeming to suggest that the former Wall Street culture has emerged virtually unscathed from the recession.

Grandpa would be Remiss Without Affording Tim Geithner
Recognition and Accolades for His Contributions
to those Hard Working Folks on Wall Street

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tackles five Myths about TARP: 1) cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, 2) was a gift for Wall Street that did nothing for Main Street, 3) left our financial system in weakened condition, 4) increased concentration in the financial system, and 5) served as the centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s strategy to control the economy.

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