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Bailed Out Firms Finding Ways to Flout Compensation Caps

More news on the business ethics front: Some Wall Street firms receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout funds are finding creative ways to get around

Jul 31, 2020
More news on the business ethics front: Some Wall Street firms receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout funds are finding creative ways to get around executive compensation limits imposed by the government, The Wall Street Journal reports.
In response to expected bonus restrictions, officials at CitigroupInc., Morgan Stanleyand other financial institutions that got government aid are discussing increasing base salaries for some executives and other top-producing employees, people familiar with the situation said.
The crackdown, part of the economic-stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama last month, limits bonus pay for the top five executives of any recipient of taxpayer capital through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, plus the 20 next-highest-compensated employees.
The discussions are at an early stage, partly because the government hasn’t yet issued specific rules on the bonus payments that will be allowed at companies that received TARP aid. The talks also are proceeding cautiously because of the political volatility of pay, bonuses and perks on Wall Street, including outrage over American International GroupInc.’s promise to pay $450 million in bonuses to employees in the insurer’s financial-products unit.
Nice to see patriotism in action. Per my earlier post, it’s time to demand that these companies operate in the open. Maybe it will take subpoenas, or public hearings, or a scolding from the President. But whatever it takes, it’s time to get more aggressive in making these firms accountable for the way they’re using public money. There’s plenty the government could do here, such as requiring a detailed and public accounting of compensation payments, so the people can see — and judge — for themselves, or imposing some kind of penalty for companies that try to cheat the public.
The Journal notes that these companies are proceeding cautiously, because they are sensitive to public outrage over their actions. But they’re still apparently forging ahead to flout the pay limits, which were put in place for a reason.. They’re playing us for fools. The question is, what are we doing about it?
Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood has over two decades of experience as a writer and journalist, specializing in finance and economics. With a degree in Economics and a background in financial research and analysis, Camilo brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his writing. Throughout his career, Camilo has contributed to numerous publications, covering a wide range of topics such as global economic trends, investment strategies, and market analysis. His articles are recognized for their insightful analysis and clear explanations, making complex financial concepts accessible to readers. Camilo's experience includes working in roles related to financial reporting, analysis, and commentary, allowing him to provide readers with accurate and trustworthy information. His dedication to journalistic integrity and commitment to delivering high-quality content make him a trusted voice in the fields of finance and journalism.
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