News / USA

US Financial Firms' Top Executive Bonuses Up 17 Percent in 2009

US Financial Firms' Top Executive Bonuses Up 17 Percent in 2009
US Financial Firms' Top Executive Bonuses Up 17 Percent in 2009
Larry Freund

Bonus payments paid to top executives at U.S. financial firms jumped 17 percent in 2009, according to a leading official in New York States.

The annual bonus payments at Wall Street security firms were up 17 percent, to more than $20 billion, in 2009. That was the same year that the federal government provided billions of dollars to help the financial firms that were on the verge of collapse.  Also, 2009 profits at the largest financial firms could surpass $55 billion. The previous year, 2008, the broker-dealers lost a record $42.6 billion.

These new figures come from Thomas DiNapoli, the Comptroller of New York State and a senior elected official in the state. He says Wall Street is vital to the economy of New York State - where many of the firms are headquartered - but for most Americans, these huge bonuses are a bitter pill and hard to comprehend. There's a lot of resentment, Mr. DiNapoli adds, against the industry over its role in the global economic meltdown.

"In 2008, while the industry saw record losses, Wall Street still paid out about $17.4 billion in bonuses and people expressed a lot of concern and outrage at that," he said. "Excessive risk-taking with other people's money had quite an impact on our global economy. We saw what happened with credit being frozen and unemployment soaring, too many Americans watching their savings vanish at a time when Wall Street still seemed to be paying out bonuses."

The New York State official wants to link compensation in the financial industry to long-term sustainable profits. He is also calling for government regulations to make sure the securities industry thrives without driving everyone else out on what he calls a fragile economic limb.

President Barack Obama has in the past criticized the large Wall Street bonuses as the height of irresponsibility, but more recently said he did not begrudge the bonuses paid at two large banking firms.

Joe Sorrentino, an executive compensation specialist, says the bonuses paid in 2009 are in line with what he was expecting in terms of the record profits. If there had not been as much of a public controversy about the bonuses, he adds, they would have been even higher. He believes that if the Wall Street executives are not paid a fair bonus, they can leave their firms and take their business with them.

New York State Comptroller DiNapoli, commenting on what he calls Wall Street's unprecedented recovery, says the input of taxpayer money had a big part to do with the return to profitability.

"Certainly while one year does not indicate a trend, there is hope, when you look at some of the different ways in which some of the firms are structuring compensation that Wall Street has gotten the message, that it is important to tie compensation to long term sustainable profits," he said.

DiNapoli says he looks forward to a profitable Wall Street in a way that will improve the economic well-being of all New Yorkers.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid