According to an analysis from Bloomberg, CEO compensation for the nation’s 50 biggest financial companies “collectively rose by an average of 20.4 percent in 2011 — a year when most big banks and brokerages saw their revenues, profits and stock prices plummet. The 2011 pay rise followed a 26 percent increase in 2010 for CEOs who held the same job in both years …
“Overall, 33 of the 50 biggest financial companies had negative share returns in their 2011 fiscal years, as they were buffeted, particularly in the second half of the year, by a series of crises that froze the deal markets.”
So let me see if I’ve got this financial CEO gig figured out:
In a bad year in which you produce negative returns for your shareholders and most Americans are just happy to have a job, you increase your multi-million-dollar pay package by an average of 20 percent. Over a two-year period, your already extravagant compensation jumps a total of 50 percent on average.
And of course, all this follows a really really bad year, a historically bad year in which all the high-risk bets that you place go wrong and threaten to bring down the global economy. The collapse is so complete that the federal government is forced to come in and bail out your industry with hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.
But do you feel the slightest bit chagrined or humble? Hell no. In fact, if the feds then try to insist on tighter regulations, telling you that they don’t want to have to bail out your sorry butts next time, you pout and whine about how you feel unappreciated and put-upon, and you then dump a few spare million into the campaigns of politicians who are willing to kiss your ring and tell you how wonderful you are.
Did I get that right?
– Jay Bookman