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Wall Street Entitlement

by Miki Saxon

What a joke. Bloomberg offers up information on which bankers are foregoing salaries and how bonuses are being set up.

For example, Steve Black and William Winters, who head up JPMorgan Chase’s investment banking unit, will forgo cash and stock bonuses in 2008, accepting only 700,000 stock options each.

“The stock will be awarded based on future company performance and must be held for five years, the bank said. The JPMorgan stock appreciation awards were priced at $19.49, the average of the high and low price of trading on Jan. 20, according to Bloomberg data. Shares of JPMorgan fell 21 percent that day and have since climbed to $24.28.”

I love the ‘only’. I just checked and the stock is up another 22 cents.

That means that even if the stock is no higher in 5 years they would still reap a little more than 3.5 million dollars.

Let’s not all cry at once.

There’s a reason that all those hotshot MBAs want to work on Wall Street. It’s because they believe, with reason, that they’ll make low seven figures within a year, two if they’re slow.

The attitude is blamed on Wall Street culture, but it goes further than that.

It goes back to their individual MAP and the deeply seated belief that they deserve it—they are entitled to that compensation; and that MAP certainly isn’t reserved for the new grads, it permeates all levels.

It’s not that they call themselves ‘Masters of the Universe’—it’s that they believe it.

Big problem since MAP is only changeable from the inside out. MAP is also sneaky and will pretend to change and then revert to its normal pattern when no one’s looking.

That means that we, the people, and we, the politicians, better have longer memories going forward than we’ve had in the past.

(Richard is traveling and will return next week.)

Image credit: flickr

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