Rebound … in Bankers' Pay

From the New York Times (6/23):

The Times doesn’t say whether or not these figures are inflation-adjusted. But even if they’re not: are you making 40% more than you were in 1998, even in nominal terms—as the analysis projects bankers will in 2009? We’re not.

The chart accompanies a piece on Citigroup raising employees’ salaries to make up for their smaller bonuses:

Citigroup Has a Plan to Fatten Salaries

After all those losses and bailouts, rank-and-file employees of Citigroup are getting some good news: their salaries are going up.

The troubled banking giant, which to many symbolizes the troubles in the nation’s financial industry, intends to raise workers’ base salaries by as much as 50 percent this year to offset smaller annual bonuses, according to people with direct knowledge of the plan.

The shift means that most Citigroup employees will make as much money as they did in 2008, although some might earn more and others less. The company also plans to award millions of new stock options to employees in an effort to retain workers and neutralize a precipitous drop in the value of their stock holdings.

Like Citigroup, financial companies, like Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, are raising employees’ base salaries to try to shift attention away from bonuses and curb excessive risk-taking. So are banks like UBS and other European competitors.

Indeed, despite the simmering anger over Wall Street pay, some of the 10 big banks that repaid their federal aid this month—a big step toward disentangling themselves from the government—are gearing up to pay outsize bonuses. For many, profits are up, despite the troubled economy. On Monday, Goldman Sachs, which returned $10 billion of bailout funds, denied reports that it planned to pay out the highest bonuses in its 140-year history.

Read the article here.

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