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Bonus Watch '11: Jefferies Employees Might Not Want To Make Any Sudden Movements

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Maybe you're a Jefferies employee who thinks the light at the end of the tunnel is near. Bonus time's a' comin' and once you get yours, you're out of this place, you've told family and close friends. Just a couple more months and you can bust out. Break free. Live again. Just gotta wait for the money for last year's work to hit your account and bye-bye Jefferies, hello the first day of the rest of you life, right? WRONG! Jefferies is trying out something new this year and it's called you're not going anywhere.

Many of you will soon be meeting with your respective manager(s) regarding year-end discretionary compensation. If you are awarded discretionary compensation in respect of 2011, in many cases this will be comprised of cash and restricted stock (unless you previously elected to receive restricted cash in lieu of restricted stock). Our Board of Directors and the firm's Executive Committee have determined that all discretionary cash payments will be in the form of one-year restricted cash. This means that any 2011 discretionary cash payment you might receive will be required to be repaid to Jefferies should, the in the one year after you receive the restricted cash in lieu of restricted stock, you terminate your employment and join a competitor (separately, if you elected to receive restricted cash in lieu of restricted stock, that cash will be subject to 20 month clawbacks)...The reason we are moving to this form of cash award is straightforward. We are paying out a full compensation rate as a percentage of revenues (albeit revenues below our collective expectations), and the portion of our compensation that will be paid in cash is among the highest percentages of cash among all our competitors...We are all in this togther as partners and our overriding priority is to keep Jefferies highly fortified for the collective benefit of all our employees, shareholders, bondholders and clients.

Jefferies' New Pay Plan Includes Possible Bonus Clawbacks [FBN]


Bonus Watch '13: Jefferies CEOs

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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.