Wednesday, December 30, 2009

When bankers try to be made men

JIMMY CONWAY:
You're crazy. The bulls are across
the street. They're watching
everything we do ....

Didn't I tell you not to get
anything big? Didn't I tell you
not to attract attention?

Can you believe this shit?
- - Pileggi & Scorcese's Goodfellas script


Just like the wisest wise guys in Goodfellas, Wall Street executives are looking for a way to deflect attention and public blow-back from any attempt to share the wealth of their heists of predatory lending, government subsidies, and accrued, ill-gotten profits:
Wall Street's efforts to quell public outrage over its pay practices could in fact be setting up its top executives, bankers, and traders for even bigger payouts down the road, which in turn could reignite the outcry.

To align pay with the long-term performance, banks are giving executives a larger proportion of their compensation in stock and are spreading the equity payouts over more years.

Wall Street is working hard to tweak the terms of compensation packages to ensure that traders, bankers and executives are not incentivized to take out-sized risks ....

these moves do not necessarily presage a new era of reduced pay in the financial sector.

If banks like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs continue to rebound from the financial crisis, their shares could surge and their newly designed compensation plans could mean extra big paydays years from now ....

That in turn could lead to more public outcry over pay in the financial sector, which received more than a trillion dollars of government support in 2008, experts said.

But experts said that what is upsetting many Americans is the notion that whatever the formula that major Wall Street firms use to pay employees, their losses are socialized while their gains are privatized.

"Main Street doesn't care whether it is deferred stock or restricted stock, or whether 75 percent of it is kicked down the road," said Cornelius Hurley, director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law at Boston University. "All they care about is these guys are making tens of millions of dollars."
Note that Goldman Sachs, the underwriter of the Mayor's plan for a new convention center, figures prominently in the deception.

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