Jefferies Chief Handler Declines 2011 Bonus After Stock Drop

Jefferies Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Richard Handler said he is among senior managers who declined bonuses for fiscal 2011 after the firm’s stock dropped more than 50 percent this year.

“We’ve given back our entire bonus,” Handler, 50, said today on a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter earnings, referring to himself and Brian Friedman, chairman of the executive committee. “We recognize our shareholders had a tough year -- we’re shareholders, and we’re getting zero bonus.”

Handler, who receives a $1 million salary, didn’t say how much money they turned down. His annual bonus can range from zero to $12 million depending on performance, plus an incentive equity award of as much as $13 million, according to a description of the compensation program that the New York-based firm filed with U.S. regulators in January.

The investment bank, which has been battling speculation about its financial strength after MF Global Holdings Ltd. collapsed, has slid 56 percent in New York trading this year through yesterday.

Fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 23 percent to $48.4 million as revenue decreased, the firm said today. The stock rose today, paring the year’s slide, after earnings from fixed-income trading recovered from the third quarter and as the firm reduced assets 23 percent to $35 billion.

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