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Bloomberg Would Like To Remind Wall Street That It Gets Paid Way More Than It Should Compared To More Noble Professions

As we’ve discussed at length, bonus expectations this year are not very good, should you be employed by a bank. Even those at hedge funds and private equity firms, where numbers aren’t expected to be nearly as bad, will likely have something to complain about, given that that’s just what people do when it comes to bonuses (rail against whoever came up with the figure and know in your heart you deserve more). A week or so ahead of numbers being officially communicated, Bloomberg has whipped up a chart comparing the pay of traders and M&A bankers to those of some totally randomly selected professions (brain surgeons, cancer researchers, aerospace engineers, 4-star generals with thirty-four years experience) where employees make less and told the former group to “take solace” in the disparity. It almost seems as though some sort of message is being sent!

“I don’t think it’s healthy for the economy to be this skewed,” Stephen Rose, a 63-year-old professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, commented. “I believe there’s some sort of connection between value added to the economy and pay.

But lest you get any idea, no one’s here to pass judgment. They just want to leave you with a few things to marinate on, like this:

An oil trader with 10 years in the business is likely to earn at least $1 million this year, while a neurosurgeon with similar time on the job makes less than $600,000, recruiters estimated. After a decade of deal-making, merger bankers take home about $2 million, more than 10 times what a similarly seasoned cancer researcher gets (see table below).

And this:

A four-star general with more than 34 years in the military makes almost $185,000 a year, according to the Department of Defense’s accounting office. That’s less than half the $498,246 average compensation and benefits package that New York-based Goldman Sachs paid employees for 2009.

And some of this:


* ”

Traders’ Smaller Bonuses Still Top Pay For Brain Surgeons, 4-Star Generals [Bloomberg]

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135 Responses to “Bloomberg Would Like To Remind Wall Street That It Gets Paid Way More Than It Should Compared To More Noble Professions”

  1. Guest says:

    hand/bite/feeds you, bberg. something to marinate on.

    • tits says:

      I think you have that the wrong way round.

    • Guestosaurus says:

      True.. though i think it’s a fair point that finance is by and large overpaid, and that there are a lot of smart people wasting their life doing comps and pitchbooks while they could be doing something slightly more productive..

      • Justsayin says:

        where do you think the money for stuff like cancer research comes from? who do you think is endowing the hospitals, etc?

          • Guest says:

            the NIH endows hospitals? which one is named after them?

          • Guest says:

            NIH funds cancer research–University hospitals receive most of their funding through NIH, including Cleveland and Mayo Clinics.

            Private hospitals don’t do much research.

          • Guest says:

            “Industry was the largest contributor to biomedical research, accounting for 58 percent of all 2007 spending… The U.S. National Institutes of Health was the second-largest source, paying for 27 percent”

          • Guest says:

            From Wikipedia: around two-thirds of research and development in scientific and technical fields is carried out by industry, and 20% by universities, and 10% by government… Government funding for medical research amounts to approximately 36% in the U.S.

          • guest says:

            The original comment was about hospitals and cancer research. Most advances and findings in cancer research come out of University hospitals. The funding for these labs is predominantly supported by NIH.

            Pharmaceutical companies create treatment drugs (it really wouldn’t be in their best interest to “cure” cancer). Biotech companies mainly focus on diagnostic equipment, delivery systems, and prosthetics.

            According to Wikipedia:
            “In the United States, the most recent data from 2003[2] suggest that about 94 billion dollars were provided for biomedical research in the United States. The National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies collectively contribute 26.4 billion dollars and 27.0 billion dollars, respectively, which constitute 28% and 29% of the total, respectively. Other significant contributors include biotechnology companies (17.9 billion dollars, 19% of total), medical device companies (9.2 billion dollars, 10% of total), other federal sources, and state and local governments. Foundations and charities, led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, contributed about 3% of the funding.”

            Maybe I’m missing something and there is a fine medical institution in NYC named the Goldman Sachs Hospital with the Lloyd Blankfien wing. Perhaps you can edit Wikipedia to reflect that fact.

        • Anonymous says:

          who is john gault?

        • Anonymous says:

          who is john gault?

        • Guestosaurus says:

          don’t take the “value creation” you always yep about in your pitchbooks too seriously..

        • Csssandra says:

          Spare us the shite about capital formation. Any intellectually honest folks on Wall Street know that most of what goes on is ultimately rent seeking – parasites or at best, remoras.

        • Csssandra says:

          Spare us the shite about capital formation. Any intellectually honest folks on Wall Street know that most of what goes on is ultimately rent seeking – parasites or at best, remoras.

        • Csssandra says:

          Spare us the shite about capital formation. Any intellectually honest folks on Wall Street know that most of what goes on is ultimately rent seeking – parasites or at best, remoras.

          • Anonymous says:

            If I lose money, the clients pull their funds, I lose my job and I get paid zilch.

            If this is the life of a rentier I need to take up something easier, like mining coal.

          • Infinium rainmaker says:

            I get paid millions to choreograph flash mobs

          • trojan says:

            assymetric risk: i can lose all of a client’s capital, but at worst i get fired… incentive to ramp up payout with floor (no pay) in place. from client/investor’s perspective, more clawback provisions needed going forward.

          • Guest says:

            My only question is when doe you work? Before or after you spend all day on DB commenting?

          • Anonymous says:

            If I lose money, the clients pull their funds, I lose my job and I get paid zilch.

            If this is the life of a rentier I need to take up something easier, like mining coal.

          • BuyAclue says:

            sorry sweetheart, there’s more than one job on wall street than i-banking.

    • Guestosaurus says:

      True.. though i think it’s a fair point that finance is by and large overpaid, and that there are a lot of smart people wasting their life doing comps and pitchbooks while they could be doing something slightly more productive..

  2. Guest says:

    hand/bite/feeds you, bberg. something to marinate on.

  3. Guest says:

    hand/bite/feeds you, bberg. something to marinate on.

  4. Guest says:

    hand/bite/feeds you, bberg. something to marinate on.

  5. Steve Cohen says:

    On Thursday nights they call me “Herr General” at Beamers. Therefore, I think this data is skewed.

    -Steve “Whip My Lapels Into Shape” Cohen

  6. Guest says:

    Fired banker: $0
    Retirement pay for a general with 34 years experience: ~$150,000

    • Guestius Maximus says:

      Retired banker: 401K at the least(even 10% of your yearly earnings would be insane)
      Fired General: $0 and usually some levenworth
      Fired banker:What ever money s/he embezzled
      Getting owned with your own argument: priceless.

  7. NakedShort says:

    They forgot to include the NPV of the 4 Star Generals Government Pension. $2.5 million give or take depending on the life expectancy of him and his wife (not including COLA).

    …and knowing is half the battle

    -GI Joe

  8. Anonymous says:

    Angelina Jolie $8 — $20mm per movie
    ARod $30mm per year
    financial journalists who write stories that support their personal biases? Priceless

  9. derp says:

    Law Firm Junior Associate ….. Bag of Peanuts (Shelled)

  10. derp says:

    Law Firm Junior Associate ….. Bag of Peanuts (Shelled)

  11. Texashedge says:

    Win a fucking war, maybe we’ll pay you more

    • Jelous says:

      Yes, I feel terrible for these retired 4-star Generals who are private consultants and lobbiests for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin in addition to being a Fox News contributors. They’re practically broke.

    • VeggieCap says:

      Just because they haven’t won a War since 1945 when they ass-nuke-raped Hiroshima is no reason to….oh wait, yes it is.

    • VeggieCap says:

      Just because they haven’t won a War since 1945 when they ass-nuke-raped Hiroshima is no reason to….oh wait, yes it is.

    • VeggieCap says:

      Just because they haven’t won a War since 1945 when they ass-nuke-raped Hiroshima is no reason to….oh wait, yes it is.

    • VeggieCap says:

      Just because they haven’t won a War since 1945 when they ass-nuke-raped Hiroshima is no reason to….oh wait, yes it is.

  12. Texashedge says:

    Win a fucking war, maybe we’ll pay you more

  13. Texashedge says:

    Win a fucking war, maybe we’ll pay you more

  14. Texashedge says:

    Win a fucking war, maybe we’ll pay you more

  15. Texashedge says:

    Win a fucking war, maybe we’ll pay you more

  16. Texashedge says:

    Win a fucking war, maybe we’ll pay you more

  17. Texashedge says:

    Win a fucking war, maybe we’ll pay you more

  18. Texashedge says:

    Win a fucking war, maybe we’ll pay you more

  19. Texashedge says:

    Win a fucking war, maybe we’ll pay you more

  20. Texashedge says:

    Win a fucking war, maybe we’ll pay you more

  21. Dr. Doom says:

    I agree with my academic colleague from Georgetown. It is almost impossible to find a decent sized apartment in NY on a Stern School of business professor’s salary.

  22. Dr. Doom says:

    I agree with my academic colleague from Georgetown. It is almost impossible to find a decent sized apartment in NY on a Stern School of business professor’s salary.

  23. Dr. Doom says:

    I agree with my academic colleague from Georgetown. It is almost impossible to find a decent sized apartment in NY on a Stern School of business professor’s salary.

  24. Fake says:

    Waiting for the follow-up article with the job security, income volatility, work-life balance, and benefits comparison

  25. Anonymous says:

    please people, we all know that any aerospace engineer worth his weight in salt is trading bonds…

  26. judge smails says:

    the world needs ditch diggers too

  27. judge smails says:

    the world needs ditch diggers too

  28. trader joe says:

    Those who can do, those who can’t teach….

  29. Anonymous says:

    So, let’s get this straight.

    If you make a lot of money and you work on Wall Street, you’re useless and should be ashamed of yourself as you clearly add no value to the broader economy.

    If, on the other hand, you make a lot of money and are a plaintiff’s attorney, real-estate broker, Hollywood agent, or a plastic surgeon specializing in breast augmentation, you’re clearly (with apologies to Lloyd) doing God’s work and should be rewarded.

  30. Flow traders are a joke says:

    Love this article. Work in the business and can’t believe what they pay. Even worse, can believe what some colleagues feel they deserve. I live with myself by contributing to charity. Also, so many of these flow trading fuckers don’t know/do jack other than sit in a seat that puts them in the middle of information flow. They are simply crossing wires and taking some small incremental risks every once in a while w other peoples money.

  31. GGGuest says:

    Any General whose pay is not taken as a percentage of the countries GDP is underachieving.

    -H. Chavez

  32. HC Wiz says:

    Can anyone working in IBD at Goldman, BAML, JPM, MS, etc., give me a sense for what their calling officer to associate ratio is?

  33. Dr. Dumbass, Your Surgeon says:

    I practice medicine without a license because I believe that “those who can do and those who can’t teach.”

    Now, let’s cut into that lump and see what’s there, shall we?.

  34. Dr. Dumbass, Your Surgeon says:

    I practice medicine without a license because I believe that “those who can do and those who can’t teach.”

    Now, let’s cut into that lump and see what’s there, shall we?.

  35. Dr. Dumbass, Your Surgeon says:

    I practice medicine without a license because I believe that “those who can do and those who can’t teach.”

    Now, let’s cut into that lump and see what’s there, shall we?.

  36. Dr. Dumbass, Your Surgeon says:

    I practice medicine without a license because I believe that “those who can do and those who can’t teach.”

    Now, let’s cut into that lump and see what’s there, shall we?.

  37. Str688 says:

    Maybe it’s time for some of these trading operations to start rightsizing the number of Bloomberg terminals they have on their trading floors…Just sayin’…

  38. Str688 says:

    Maybe it’s time for some of these trading operations to start rightsizing the number of Bloomberg terminals they have on their trading floors…Just sayin’…

  39. Guest says:

    God, this is such bullshit. Someone with more time on their hands please do a “NPV of total comp” calculation for a general who 1) has a full time black LCpl-chauffeured SUV 2) has a mansion paid for with either full time help or help shared with a couple other generals on the same block 3) rarely if ever pays for dinner, especially if working in the DC area 4) has full Tricare coverage for himself and dependents 5) has one of his kids’ college tuition paid for via the new GI Bill and finally 6) is going to be hired by Booz/KBR/Halliburton/Fox/etc for 7 figures plus per year upon retirement, during which time he will still be paid $185k because he’s been in for more than 30 years. And he and his dependents still get free Tricare after he gets out.

    Or maybe I should feel guilty about leaving the Suck and joining Wall St.

    –former 0302/current banker

    • NakedShort says:

      Dont forget the great USAA insurance.

      -Guy who married an Army brat

    • guestistan says:

      You also forgot the 4-6 years of his 34 that he spent getting free masters’ degrees on full pay. The general won’t be buying an island but he and the family are doing very well.

      –former 0802/current slave to bankers (aka lawyer)

    • InfiniteGuest says:

      Plus you get to have people killed. What’s the NPV of that?

  40. Serenity Now says:

    “News outlets” publish these types of articles to get everyone fired up so they can sell more advertisements. Leave it to the pitchfork/torch crowd to get upset at this drivel.

    – Guy who’s convinced himself he’s better than that

  41. Anon says:

    This is NOT drivel….its the truth. Someone, anyone on this board tell me what a banker actually produces….and NO, you cannot tell me that the money they create funds science and research etc…bullsh*t……simple question WHAT DO YOU DO?….the answer nothing. Move cash from one box to another, then back again, charge fee for move. collect fee. Place big bet with fee based on nonpublic information. Win bet. Repeat. Note, if lose bet, no problem, will be rewarded anyway.

    • Ron M. says:

      Whoops! Your 30 minute, union-mandated break is over and you wasted all of the time posting this rather than getting your discounted Big Mac. Poor choice, but only another 3 hours left in your shift, so I think you can make it.

    • GGGuest says:

      When you cash your paycheck…and you decide you want to buy some stock in a company that’s doing well…where do you anticipate being able to buy that stock? I mean if your neighbor owns it in his personal account why would he sell it to you if it’s doing well?

      When that new hot tech company decides to IPO, how are you going to buy that if there isn’t a bank doing the new issue?

      When you go to get a loan at the bank for your new trailer, how are you going to get that loan if the Bank doesn’t have enough liquidity to provide that loan? What if there weren’t companies buying the debt off of the bank to give them cash so they can lend it to you to get that new fancy double wide?

      What are you going to do with your 401k/pension/403b/retirement account? I would assume you would invest it rather than stick it under your mattress…where would you invest it without a money manager running the mutual funds/pension fund?

      So I guess the real question is WHAT DO YOU DO?

      • prof nimentz says:

        1. Don’t need investment banks for one to buy stocks.

        2. CPA’s can underwrite new issu with less pay and much less drama.

        3. Liquidity for commercial banks and hence lower rates, is a privilege and artificial – just as the government has kept mortgage rates artificially low through Fannie and Freddie providing liquidity with them being able to raise funding with their implicit (now explicit) risk-free rating.
        But with that privilege of low rates come consequences – i.e., supply/demand imbalances, higher initial prices, and distorted markets. If you weren’t so busy thumping your chest and had half a brain, you probably thought about that already.
        Without that liquidity that you’re so fond of, yes, the rates will undoubtedly be higher, but with benefits as well. And with higher rates, there would be investors on the other side willing to take more risk. If you have time, do your “NPV analysis” that is gospel to you.

        People like yourself like to preach free markets but securitizing mortgages isn’t a necessary condition for a free market. In fact, securitization does cause mis-pricing of risk through perceived benefit of diversification. But we know that markets, especially regional markets, are highly correlated.

        In short, that liquidity that you desperately hang on to, is really partially akin mathematically to that ‘leverage’ word you Wall Street-ers love to use to somewhat knowledgeable to the layman.

        4. You scare me with that premise! What would I do with my 401k (i.e., savings) without the Wall Street people (especially without numbnuts like yourself generating returns for my hard-earned dollars) ?! At worst, I suppose I could hold it in cash. Or I suppose if there weren’t functioning public equity markets (due to loss of numbnuts), they probably would’ve allowed investments in many other types of classes of assets.

        WHAT WOULD I DO? I’ll do fine without you, thank you. Worry about yourself. You sound like a young person affected by media and more importantly, money.

        Contribute. Do something better.

    • IPrintMoneyThat'sWhatIDo says:

      Yeah, yeah. We get it. Pick up your torch on the left, your pitchfork on the right. One each, no shoving, please.

  42. Anon says:

    This is NOT drivel….its the truth. Someone, anyone on this board tell me what a banker actually produces….and NO, you cannot tell me that the money they create funds science and research etc…bullsh*t……simple question WHAT DO YOU DO?….the answer nothing. Move cash from one box to another, then back again, charge fee for move. collect fee. Place big bet with fee based on nonpublic information. Win bet. Repeat. Note, if lose bet, no problem, will be rewarded anyway.

  43. Anon says:

    This is NOT drivel….its the truth. Someone, anyone on this board tell me what a banker actually produces….and NO, you cannot tell me that the money they create funds science and research etc…bullsh*t……simple question WHAT DO YOU DO?….the answer nothing. Move cash from one box to another, then back again, charge fee for move. collect fee. Place big bet with fee based on nonpublic information. Win bet. Repeat. Note, if lose bet, no problem, will be rewarded anyway.

  44. Anon says:

    This is NOT drivel….its the truth. Someone, anyone on this board tell me what a banker actually produces….and NO, you cannot tell me that the money they create funds science and research etc…bullsh*t……simple question WHAT DO YOU DO?….the answer nothing. Move cash from one box to another, then back again, charge fee for move. collect fee. Place big bet with fee based on nonpublic information. Win bet. Repeat. Note, if lose bet, no problem, will be rewarded anyway.

  45. John Edwards says:

    Do something with social value, like me. Become a scumbag malpractice lawyer and make multiple millions.

  46. Client69 says:

    Realized my $3mm a year bonus for being a mere oil trader was now treated with disdain by the financial media. Felt depressed and alone.

    Went to the roof of my Park Ave penthouse to jump off roof and end it all while facing the Met. Got up on the ledge….only thing that pulled me back was my too-high standard of living and Young Coeds VIP club card that Jeffrey gave me when he left town.

  47. Anon says:

    How sad Ron M……in all likelihood someone in your not so distant past (who you now deride) probably came to this country and made a living for his family by working long hard hours in a union…..to end up producing a scumbag like you…. However, you are too good for that. You must be from a long line of blue-blooded bankers. Loser.

    • GGGuest says:

      I think you’re missing the point…he wasn’t degrading blue collar work…but rather how corrupt the system of unions has become. When sanitation workers make 100k a year, but can still decide not to work when there’s 2 feet of snow on the ground…there’s a problem. He was instead saying something along the lines of “The Pot calling the Kettle black”

  48. Anon says:

    TO GGGuest…..actually I think you are missing the point on both of your comments….not to mention you are a complete f*cking assh*le for making fun of people with trailers….much like Ron, you are tooooo good for your fellow humans…anyone not on the upper echelon of the economic spectrum like you (hahaha a low level financial services douchebag who rents a studio in NYC for $3000/month, and needs to sell his hot tech stock for liquidity to buy a rolex ……again you have proven why most wall street bankers are just complete obnoxious arrogant assh*les….YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING. LOSER!

    • GGGuest says:

      I agree with you that the trailer comment was less than tactful. That was more for the humor than anything else. But I everything else I said was correct, and I stand by it. It’s easy to blame a banker with a big paycheck. A lot of the country has. But like it or not they do provide a service that helps the economy, it may not be a service that directly benefits you in a tangible way. But like it or not without the Financial Industry your life would be different. Just like the world would suck without competent surgeons, school teachers, or garbage man. Bankers are not curing cancer, I don’t think anyone (worth their salt) believes that. But by blaming someone you don’t know, in an industry you don’t fully understand, means you’re just as ignorant as you claim I am. The comments made on this site are mostly jokes. Finance types are seen as pompous assholes, so we play on that with our comments. If you take the world too seriously you’ll never get out alive. And for the record I don’t think I’m better than anyone else.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well done GGGuest. Right balance of humility, cogent argument, facts and logic. If that fails to sway Anon then might I suggest head/wall/bang.

        • guest says:

          How was the argument logical? The issue was not whether the financial industry should be eliminated. The issue was are the high bonuses paid to financial employees justified. GGGuest does not address that issue; instead she conveniently circumvents the issue.

          “….it may not be a service that directly benefits you in a tangible way. But like it or not without the Financial Industry your life would be different”
          Yeah, many Americans would be sleeping better at night. And if the work of the financial industry doesn’t benefit the majority of Americans in a tangible way, should they be content with intangible ways? Would that be the intrinsic joy of a financial professional earning more in bonus than the value of one’s 401K account?

  49. Betterthanyou says:

    I’m better than all of you.

  50. Jimmy says:

    Why the fuck does Four Star General make the list?

  51. Guest says:

    How come Snooki isn’t on the list?

  52. Guest says:

    Ok, another issue, how many 4 star generals/admirals are there? less than 100. Now how many on the street are making the large bonuses? Also to reach that level takes years of service. I’m fairly certain that there have never been any one under 35 that has ever reached that rank. failed comparison.

  53. Jhonny the tax evader says:

    Come feel my bonus, general

  54. guest says:

    i love how nobody thinks the engineer is overpaid or has a cushy job. poor nerds…they create value and still get shit on by the western world

  55. Diego says:

    Bob Blau at Bloomberg is an A-hole

  56. Anarchist says:

    100% estate tax, and most of nonsense from finance should just disappear, ultimately it’s the incompetent rich brat’s inherited wealth which so many of incompetent hedge fund managers are looting!

  57. RZIklv A big thank you for your blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  58. Thanks-a-mundo for the post.Thanks Again. Cool.