Bonus Watch '12: MF Global

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The company's top executives have apparently been a really big help post-biting the big one so this is only fair.

Louis Freeh, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director now in charge of unwinding what is left of the New York company, is expected to ask a bankruptcy-court judge as soon as this month to approve performance-related payouts for the chief operating officer, finance chief and general counsel at MF Global, these people said. All three executives kept their jobs after the company's Oct. 31 failure in order to help Mr. Freeh untangle the firm's assets and maximize payouts to creditors. Under the expected pay plan, the three executives and as many as 20 other MF Global employees working for Mr. Freeh would get the bonuses only if they hit specified targets such as increasing the value of MF Global's estate for creditors.

Frank Piantidosi, an adviser to Mr. Freeh's firm in the MF Global case, said the compensation proposal is aimed at rewarding employees for preserving the bankruptcy estate's value, assisting in asset sales and negotiating with MF Global units outside the U.S. "It's quite honestly saving a considerable amount of the estate's resources" to keep Messrs. Abelow and Steenkamp and Ms. Ferber, Mr. Piantidosi said. Without them, Mr. Freeh would need to hire more consultants and accountants to wade through MF Global's complicated financial records, he added.

MF Global Still Set To Pay Bonuses [WSJ]

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MF Global Trustee Was Just Kidding About Paying Out Bonuses To Upper Echelons Of MF Global Management

Last month, it was reported that Louis Freeh, the trustee unwinding the remains of MF Global, would be asking a judge to "approve performance-related payouts for the chief operating officer, finance chief and general counsel at MF Global," as well as twenty other MF Global employees who stayed on after the firm bit the big one. According to one of Freeh's advisers, the bonuses were the only way they could retain the talent necessary to deal with this thing and would actually "quite honestly save a considerable amount of the estate's resources," as losing the team would mean hiring a bunch of consultants who wouldn't have the first clue about where the bodies were buried. Unfortunately for those who went out and blew the money they thought they had coming to them, Freeh wasn't actually serious about paying bonuses. “It was never my intention” to pay out bonus money to executives from the firm, Freeh told members of the Senate Banking Committee at a hearing today. Freeh committed to lawmakers that he would not distribute bonus money to current or former MF Global employees...Freeh, in his prepared remarks, said his team employs 15 non-executives, most of whom were former MF Global employees, along with the senior executives. Freeh said he has considered “a retention program” for them and added that “no formal program was ever created for senior executives, nor was any motion ever filed with the court for approval in connection with any retention program for senior executives.” MF Global Executives Will Not Receive Bonus Money, Trustee Says [Bloomberg]