Deferred Bonuses On Wall Street Really Screwing Greenwich, CT Housing Market


Time was, you put a house on the market in Greenwich, Connecticut and you got your $35 million asking price in a matter of days- and it didn't even have to come with 26-toilets, a property that would cause a serious bidding war. Greenwich could count on Wall Street to make it rain ka-ching! on people's faces come bonus time and those people would in turn say sure, here's $35 mill in cash, buy yourself something nice and all was right in the world. Now? With this bull shit about putting "greater emphasis on deferred compensation" and "incorporating risk management into performance measures"? It's making would-be buyers think things through and not jump at relative bargains at $15.95 million.

It’s been more than 500 days since Stanley Cheslock put his 26,000-square-foot Greenwich, Connecticut, “dream home” on the market for $17.95 million. The house and its surrounding estate -- custom built by Cheslock in 2003, with a movie theater and 3,700-bottle wine cellar -- is waiting for a buyer who sees the current asking price, $15.95 million, as a bargain. “It’s a steal,” said Cheslock, a co-founder of an investment firm, who has knocked almost 50 percent off the price he was asking when he first tried to sell the property five years ago. “It’s way underpriced.”

Homes priced at $10 million and above are accumulating on the market in Greenwich. They’re moving so slowly that it would take more than four years to sell them all, the biggest backlog since at least 2004, according to Mark Pruner, an agent with Prudential Connecticut Realty. Wall Street’s greater emphasis on deferred compensation, in which a portion of an annual bonus will be paid in the future, has stifled demand, he said. “Our market moves very closely with the financial markets,” Pruner, based in Greenwich, said in an interview. “Deferred compensation has totally hammered the over-$10 million market because people just aren’t getting large amounts of cash, and that market has traditionally been a cash market.”

“Previously, if you got a $10 million bonus, buying a $5 million house wasn’t that big a deal” said Pruner, who estimates that about half of all homebuyers in Greenwich work in the financial industry. “If you get $20 million -- $3 million in cash and 17 in deferred compensation -- are you going to borrow another $2 million in cash to buy a house? I don’t think so,” he said.

Thanks- for nothing.

Priciest Homes Languish In Greenwich, Connecticut [Bloomberg]


Deferring 'Significant' Amounts Of Compensation, Placing Caps On Bonuses Not Working Out So Well For Barclays

Only in that senior people the bank worked hard to recruit are quitting en masse. Otherwise, it's great. Barclays spent a decade assembling a team of the most successful gas and power traders in Europe. It took less than 16 months to lose most of them. Mercuria Energy Trading SA, based in Geneva, hired five members from the group of about a dozen from March 2011 to June this year, including Phil Sutterby as head of U.K. and European gas and Roger Jones, the former global chief of commodities, according to people with knowledge of the moves. Another six left for companies including UBS, Noble Group Ltd. and Freepoint Commodities LLC. The departures from the U.K.’s second-biggest bank reflect bonus caps, limits on the amount of money traders can risk and shrinking revenue from the division that includes commodities. While hiring from hedge funds and rival lenders helped Barclays catch up with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in commodity derivatives, according to Greenwich Associates, a focus on deferred pay left the bank vulnerable to headhunters. “The significant amount of deferred compensation and the aggressive cap on cash payouts at Barclays has unsettled a number of individuals,” said Peter Henry, New York-based head of front-office research at Commodity Search Partners. “Add to that the fact they have been systematically targeted by privately held trading houses, specifically Mercuria, and it’s fairly understandable why senior traders are leaving.” Bonus Limits Spark Exodus At Barclays Trading Unit [Bloomberg]