Wall Street bankers are back to old
habits with nearly $135 billion in compensation last year. But
this time regular investors are poised for a payout,
Even after Wall Street’s greed nearly collapsed the banking system
and forced hundred of billions in taxpayer-funded bailouts, bankers are
still finding ways to line their own pockets.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that bonuses at
publicly traded banks hit $135 billion in 2010. That’s a record high for
compensation on Wall Street. It works out to about $141,000 per
This $135 billion represents a 5.7 percent increase in combined
compensation for the same group of companies in 2009.
Unlike before the market crash of 2008, Wall Street is taking measures to
at least look like it’s reformed. The bulk of the increase in compensation
is in two areas: increased base salaries and deferred compensation. Both
are an attempt to blunt previous criticism of traders taking a “short term”
mentality and unwise risk-taking.
But what many investors may not realize is that cash dividend payments to
shareholders are on the rise, too.
In 2010, 1,729 companies increased their dividend
payments. And with corporate cash levels at record highs, more
companies will be increasing their cash payments to shareholders in