Bonus Watch '12: Nightmare On Wall Street

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At Bloomberg today you will find a piece that is a bit hard to stomach if you're the type of person whose heart goes out to the suffering. A bunch of financial services employees' bonuses were slashed last year and, as a result, their lives have been turned upside down. Perhaps recalling how well their colleagues came off in Bloomberg's first piece in what is apparently a series on bankers who are down, out, and willing to talk on the record, these people thought it wise to turn to reporter Max Abelson to tell their tale.

First, there's Andrew Schiff, director of marketing for Euro Pacific Capital. Schiff has almost too many woes to mention but they include having to scale back his Connecticut summer house rental from four months to one; facing the pressure of paying private school tuition for two kids; living in a "crammed" 1,200-square- foot Brooklyn duplex (Schiff and his wife were planning to buy a $1.5 million brownstone nearby but now, who knows); and traffic ("Schiff was sitting in a traffic jam in California this month after giving a speech at an investment conference about gold. He turned off the satellite radio, got out of the car and screamed a profanity. 'I’m not Zen at all, and when I’m freaking out about the situation, where I’m stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it’s very hard,' he said").

Then there's Cobble Hill resident Daniel Arbeeny, a headhunter whose “income has gone down tremendously" and now must buy discounted salmon at Fairway and "read supermarket circulars to find good prices for his favorite cereal, Wheat Chex," which is one step from giving out hand jobs under the Brooklyn bridge to make ends meet. Hedge fund manager Richard Scheiner had to sell two motorcycles (though because he actually saved some money, Zelda the labradoodle and Duke the bichon frise still get to live the lifestyle they've grown accustomed to at $17,000/year). Michael Sonnenfeldt's friends are suffering from “malaise and a paralysis that does not allow [them] to believe that generally things are going to get better." M. Todd Henderson feels sick (“Yes, terminal diseases are worse than getting the flu,” he said. “But you suffer when you get the flu").

All traumatic experiences to be sure. And yet none come close to that of Hans, whose harrowing story should serve as a cautionary tale to all.

Hans, 27, a trader at Wyckoff, New Jersey-based hedge fund Falcon Management Corp. who said he earns about $150,000 a year, is adjusting his sights, too. After graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, he spent a $10,000 signing bonus from Citigroup Inc. (C) on a six-week trip to South America. He worked on an emerging-markets team at the bank that traded and marketed synthetic collateralized debt obligations. His tastes for travel got “a little bit more lavish,” he said. Hans, a triathlete, went to a bachelor party in Las Vegas in January after renting a four-bedroom ski cabin at Bear Mountain in California as a Christmas gift to his parents. He went to Ibiza for another bachelor party in August, spending $3,000 on a three-day trip, including a 15-minute ride from the airport that cost $100. In May he spent 10 days in India...[in March he] plans to buy a foreclosed two-bedroom house in Charlotte, North Carolina, for $50,000.

Earlier this month, a friend invited him on a trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The friend was going to be a judge in a wet T-shirt contest, Hans said. He turned down the offer. It wouldn’t have been “the most financially prudent thing to do,” he said. “I’m not totally sure about what I’m going to get paid this year, how I’m going to be doing.”

Next time someone tells you that people on Wall Street have no sense of how bad it truly is out there, you tell them about Hans. He knows all too well.

Bonus Withdrawal Puts Bankers in “Malaise” [Bloomberg]

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Bonus Watch '12: Retired Citigroup CEOs

Uncle Vik may or may not be getting a little something extra in his stocking, depending on how generous Citi is feeling. Vikram Pandit, who stepped down yesterday as Citigroup’s chief executive officer, stands to forfeit almost $33 million in cash and stock from a retention package unless the board gives him a payout to ease his exit. Citigroup formulated a plan last year that, based on the firm’s performance so far, would have given Pandit $19 million through a profit-sharing agreement, deferred stock now valued at $9 million and $4.6 million in options, according to the terms of a May 2011 regulatory filing and data compiled by Bloomberg. The plan required Pandit, 55, to be employed at the bank through various payment dates, most of which haven’t been reached. It’s typical for CEOs who resign to forfeit previously negotiated severance and to work out an alternative payout agreement with the board, said Steven Hall, managing director of Steven Hall & Partners, a New York-based executive compensation consulting firm. Pandit getting nothing would signal that “he stood up and said, ‘I’m resigning,’” Hall said. If he gets a payout, “then the question is, did they give him that in order to smooth the path to his resignation or termination? Or did they look at him and say, ‘You know what, you did a hell of a good job during a very, very rough time, we’d like to do something nice for you,’” Hall said. Pandit Could Forgo $33 Million as Exit Voids Retention Plan [Bloomberg]

Bonus Watch '12: UBS

Numbers for first and second year analysts (who are not happy). "It's been two weeks since UBS numbers came out and nobody wants to talk about it, for obvious reasons. Second years (base: 80k) ranging 45-65k and heard of some first years getting around 40k (base: 70k). And they could only achieve these numbers ("in line with the street") after firing 30+ analysts right before communication day."

Bonus Watch '12: Ex-Citigroup CEOs

Just because they unceremoniously threw him out on his ass doesn't mean the board wants to see Vikram go home empty handed. Vikram Pandit, Citigroup' ousted chief executive officer, will get about $6.7 million in 2012 compensation and will forfeit some awards tied to a $40 million retention package granted last year. John Havens, who resigned last month as Citigroup’s chief operating officer on the same day as Pandit, will get about $6.8 million for 2012 and also forfeit some awards, the New York-based lender said today in a regulatory filing. Citigroup is the third-largest U.S. bank by assets. “Based on the progress this year through the date of separation, the board determined that an incentive award for their work in 2012 was appropriate and equitable,” Chairman Michael E. O’Neill said in the filing. “While Citi will also honor all past awards that they are legally entitled to, there are no severance payments. Awards to which they are not legally entitled have been forfeited.” Citigroup's Pandit $6.7 Million Compensation For 2012 [Bloomberg]