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Bear Stearns Bonus Pool: Banking In The Shallow End

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Is it too early to start talking about bonuses for 2007? Bear Stearns doesn't think so. It has already set up a bonus pool for its top executives, according to a recent SEC filing.
From Reuters:

A maximum bonus pool of $165 million has been established for a group of five senior executives that includes Bear Stearns Chief Executive James Cayne, the company said. Payout will be pegged to the company's return on equity. No executive can get more than 30 percent of the total pool, which can be as little as zero.
Bear Stearns' compensation committee also approved the performance goals for a second bonus pool for seven other top executives. The maximum amount will be $140 million, with awards based on pretax return on equity, departmental income and expense controls.

These numbers include cash and non-cash bonuses. So if you do the math, the maximum bonus for, say, James Cayne for 2007 will be $49.5 million, or about $3 million dollars less than the co-presidents of Goldman Sachs got for last year.
We can't help thinking that this suggests a new recruiting slogan for Bear Stearns: "Bear Stearns: It's like working for Goldman in 2005. Wall Street The Old Fashioned Way."

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