News / USA

Report: Wall Street Pay to Hit Record $144 Billion

Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese, second from right, talks with specialist Michael Pistillo, right, as he visits the post that trades his company's stock on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, 6 Oct 2010
Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese, second from right, talks with specialist Michael Pistillo, right, as he visits the post that trades his company's stock on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, 6 Oct 2010

Pay for Wall Street executives is set to hit a record high of $144 billion this year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The paper's Tuesday edition says this is about a 5 percent increase over last year, which also set a record.  

The analysis covers 35 financial companies, including banks, hedge funds, money-management firms, and securities exchanges.

Revenue is growing at a majority of those companies, but compensation is growing even faster.

Wall Street's huge pay packages have sparked outrage in the United States where many financial firms were rescued by emergency loans from the government, and taxpayers are enduring almost 10 percent unemployment.

Recently-passed financial reform legislation intended to limit executive compensation, but the specific rules are still being written.

The Journal's analysis of pay packages shows political pressure and reforms have not affected the size of pay packages, but have changed their form.  Some companies pay their employees partly in stock that has to be held for a period of time.  That is intended to get traders to focus on the long-term health of the company, not just high-risk investments that pay off in the short term but can go sour over time.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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