A few choice 2008 stats from the Journal’s findings:
“Merrill's 10 highest-paid employees got a total of $209 million in cash and stock in 2008, up slightly from $201 million paid to the top 10 a year earlier.”
“David Sobotka, now in charge of global proprietary trading, was paid about $13 million in 2008, although the Merrill unit he ran at the time had negative net revenue of $35.96 billion, largely due to write-downs on real-estate assets that the unit inherited before he took over.”
“Thomas Montag, the head of global sales and trading at Merrill, made $39.4 million in 2008, even though his first day on the job was in August … Mr. Montag also received stock valued at about $50 million to replace what he gave up by leaving Goldman Sachs Group Inc., his former employer, according to people familiar with the matter. In 2008, the unit run by Mr. Montag had negative net revenue of $28.1 billion.”
“Andrea Orcel, the investment banker who was paid $33.8 million, has worked on some of the world's biggest investment-banking deals in recent years … Mr. Orcel got a one-time bonus valued at $12 million for his role [in advising a consortium led by the Royal Bank of Scotland on its $101 billion acquisition of ABN Amro]. Former RBS Chairman Sir Tom McKillop recently called the acquisition "a bad mistake." Losses related to the ABN Amro deal are one reason the U.K. government is increasing its ownership stake in RBS to 95%.”
One last thing: in case you forgot, Merrill booked a $15.84 billion loss last year—and that was in the fourth quarter alone.
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