Archive for February, 2010

Retirement Benefits for BofA’s Lewis: $83 Million

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Published in The Wall Street Journal February 27, 2010 by Dan Fitzpatrick 

Retired Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis left with about $83 million in pension and insurance benefits, stock and other compensation, according to a securities filing Friday. The filing by the Charlotte, N.C., bank also disclosed that the highest-paid executive at the nation’s largest bank by assets in 2009 was Thomas Montag, who got $29.9 million in total compensation as president of global banking and markets.

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Executive Compensation: Reforms Are Slowly Gaining

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Published in Daily Finance February 26, 2010 By Sheryl Nance-Nash 

If you want to stir up a hornet’s nest, just mutter two words: executive compensation. From the White House to Wall Street to Every Street USA, who gets paid how much is a topic of heated debate. Earlier this week came the announcement that Wall Street employees saw their bonuses increase by 17% to a collective $20.3 billion in 2009: During an economic downturn, a disparity in pay like that gets extra attention.

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The Cost of Doing Nothing on Health Care

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Published in The New York Times February 26, 2010 by Reed Abelson

“Hands off my health care,” goes one strain of populist sentiment. But what if? Suppose Congress and President Obama fail to overhaul the system now, or just tinker around the edges, or start over, as the Republicans propose — despite the Democrats’ latest and possibly last big push that began last week at a marathon televised forum in Washington.

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Executive Compensation and Public Outrage

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Published in Business Week February 25, 2010

What fueled public outrage wasn’t how much execs got but how little the rest of us did, says Camelia Kuhnen of the Kellogg School of Management. The upside: increased shareholder activism Bonus season is well under way, and the public outrage that last year boiled over into protests at execs’ homes, criticism from the President, and demand for reform from an angry public seems to be at a low simmer now.

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CEO Pay and the SEC: The Power of Shame

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Published in Business Week February 25, 2010 By Patrick McGurn

Many people can recite the first half of Louis D. Brandeis’ quote about the cleansing qualities of disclosure—”Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants….” Few bother with the rest of the sentence, in which Brandeis calls “electric light the most efficient policeman.” To her credit, Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro seems to have both sides committed to memory.

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The Big Money’s Back in Town

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Published in The New York Times February 24, 2010 

It’s about as official as it gets: the big money is back on Wall Street, Graham Bowley writes in The New York Times. Flush with record profits in 2009, investment banks and securities firms paid employees in New York City an estimated $20.3 billion in annual bonuses, according to a report released Tuesday by the New York State Comptroller. That was up from $17.4 billion for 2008. The tally, which is based largely on personal income tax receipts, provides a signpost for what has been one of the most controversial bonus seasons in Wall Street history.

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Corporate Boards Gone Wild

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For every corporate accounting scandal, overpaid CEO or episode of imprudent risk taking, there’s usually one common denominator _ a board of directors who signed off on it. And while corporate boards, many of them dominated by retirees, have not had the kind of negative attention reserved these days for the Wall Street set, a new report highlights a number of questionable practices going on in America’s boardrooms that are not in shareholders’ best interests.

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Wall Street Bonuses Get 17% Bounce

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Published in The Wall Street Journal February 23, 2010by Gina Chon

As financial firms rebounded last year, Wall Street bonuses for employees in the New York City securities industry rose almost 17% to $20.3 billion in 2009, according to a report released Tuesday by the New York State comptroller. That is compared to $17.4 billion paid in bonuses in 2008 after a record $42.6 billion loss in the securities industry. The 2008 figure reflected a 47% drop from what was paid in 2007, when securities industry employees received $32.9 billion.

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Prudential Introduces Robust Nonqualified Plan Offering to Enhance Total Retirement Solutions Experience for Plan Sponsors and Participants

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Published in Market Watch February 23, 2010 

Prudential Retirement announced today that its Total Retirement Solutions (TRS) offering has been enhanced to include a new non-qualified product that provides a wide variety of benefits for retirement-plan sponsors and their participants.

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Nothing Average About Them

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

In his article “A Banker’s “Market” Worth: It’s A Rigged System”, JonathanTasini not only wants to lead the pitchfork crowd against “… 
the obscene bonuses and pay given to bankers and the financial mandarins who destroyed the economy.” But it seems he also wants to sell his book “The Audacity of Greed”. 

He does make valid points in his 1,300 plus word diatribe, but to suggest that market forces and competitive pay are not important to appropriate decisions on compensation is absurd. However, we do agree that the games played in this arena are well deserving of criticism and have long caused inflation in executive pay.
Continue reading “Nothing Average About Them” »

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