Monday, March 9, 2009

Cuomo Wants Information For All BofA Bonuses Over $1 Million

The Cuomo v Thain heavyweight (superheavyweight considering Barney Frank just jumped into Cuomo's corner) boxing match just got into round 8. The Attorney General and the Representative have demanded all bonus data for BofA/Merrill employees who received more than $1 million in 2008 bonus. In a letter issued today to Ken Lewis, the two claim the CEO's refusal to reveal compensation information "fuels distrust and cynicism."
Cuomo has been examining executive pay at banks that received money from the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. Merrill and Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America have received about $45 billion. Bank of America bought Merrill on Jan. 1. The letter is the latest salvo in Cuomo’s battle with Lewis over the individualized bonus data. In the letter, Cuomo and Frank say Merrill’s $3.6 billion in bonuses and Bank of America’s $3.3 billion should be made public.

“Taxpayers who are footing the bill obviously demand accountability and want to know who received these funds and why,” the letter said.

It is not clear just how Bank Of America would suffer "grave and irreparable harm" if the Merrill employees were identified (which they already have been by numerous media outlets) or what their bonuses were (Cuomo and Frank just need to call (or issue a subpoena to) any self-respecting headhunter to get the exact number to the 3rd decimal place, as all these individuals are currently peddling their services to whatever bank would want the public scrutiny associated with hiring them), seeing how this was a one-time event as the likelihood of $30 million + bonuses in the next 5 years is 0 to negative, and is just BofA's most recent attempt at "strawmanning." Of course, the information of when Lewis et al knew about what bonuses would be (given their size) and keeping in mind Merrill's atrocious performance (i.e. were bonuses determined before or after) does have the capacity to cause some quite grave harm to Lewis' Wall Street career.

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Anonymous said...

this is more of the same.

not imploding in a down year is exactly what _should_ get you a big bonus, if anything does.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see the internal chaos at BOA/MER when the MDs and senior EDs get to see who got paid what. Talk about Project Mayhem.

Advant Guard said...

I hate the word 'bonus'. This was not extra money. It is really just deferred, variable commission.