Here's That "Huge" Feinberg Bonus People Were Either Quaking In Their Boots Over Or Not Worrying About At All

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Ken Feinberg, who checked out of this gig months ago when the more exciting one came up to work alongside the fuck-ups du jour, BP, has released his list of the 17 TARP-taking banks that paid out "ill-advised" bonuses in 2008 ("both for the sheer amount and the lack of reasonable rationale for their payment"). Although the point has been made clear about a million times that K-Fein has no authority to claw-back these bonuses, people, we're supposed to believe have been all but pissing their pants in fear and in some cases (Citi...) doing just that. So, yes, "legally," he can't take the money back but...there's gotta something he can do, right? Smash their faces with an iron? Shove a nail through their foot? Bite off each and everyone one of their fingers one by one? Or how about, wait, this is good, you're gonna love this, he does nothing?

U.S. "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg on Friday declined to request 17 financial firms that doled out $1.6 billion in "ill advised" executive compensation to return the excessive payouts, saying to do so would be unfair to the companies and could trigger private lawsuits and additional Congressional investigation.

Mr. Feinberg, the Obama administration's special master for compensation, said he deemed these payments as "ill advised" both for the sheer amount—some individual payouts exceed $10 million, he said—and the lack of reasonable rationale for their payment. But he stopped short of saying any of the firms violated the public interest, the highest criticism allowed by the law mandating his review. None of the firms violated any law or regulation when they made the payouts, Mr. Feinberg told reporters during a briefing Friday.

Feinberg: Unfair To Ask Firms To Return Payouts [WSJ]


Bonus Watch '13: Jim Gorman Gives Employees The Option To Either Take Their Bonus In Three Easy Installments

Since taking the reigns at Morgan Stanley in 2010, CEO James Gorman has guided the firm with a managerial style that boils down to telling people, more or less: You'll get it when you've earned it, "it" being anything from personal space to money to his respect. On the point of compensation, last year he told employees complaining about what they were paid to either open a newspaper and get over themselves or do everyone a favor and quit. Today brings news that this year, he's doubling down on that mandate and daring anyone to make something of it.

Bonus Watch '12: Jefferies Has Got Your Cold Hard Cash Right Here

Back in the day, as in pre-crisis, bonus season on Wall Street was a happy time. Sure, you still had your miserable pricks who would bitch and moan about the fact that they hadn't gotten as much as the guy who sat next to them, even they the guy who sat next to them was a "non-contributing zero who wouldn't recognize alpha if it bit him in the ass," but prior to to fall 2008, anyone who was unhappy about his or her bonus was a) quibbling over receiving a huge sum of money instead of an imperial fuck-ton of money and b) in a position to actually make good on a threat to jump ship, since firms were hiring. Now, with a few exceptions, bonus season makes people feel sad. Angry. Impotent. Like the world is out to get them. Not only has the total amount of one's bonus come down, but many companies have decreased the cash portion, while increasing the deferral period on stock to, in some cases, almost half a decade. Then you have Jefferies. Last year it let employees decide between an all stock bonus or an all cash bonus with 25% lopped off.  This year the investment bank-cum-butcher shop isn't even forcing anyone to choose, instead dumping a bag of cash on everyone's desk and reminding them who loves 'em.