Jefferies CEO Handler’s Pay Drops 7.9% for 2011 After Stock Rout

Jefferies Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Richard Handler’s pay for fiscal 2011 fell 7.9 percent after the investment bank’s shares slid 48 percent last year and he declined a $4.88 million bonus.

Handler, 50, was awarded $14 million for the fiscal year ended Nov. 30, compared with $15.2 million for the 11 months through November 2010, New York-based Jefferies said today in a filing. The package included $1 million in salary and $13 million in restricted-stock units that were granted in 2010. Handler elected to not receive a bonus for 2011. The firm shifted the end of its fiscal year to Nov. 30 in 2010.

The CEO worked to reassure investors, amid a 14 percent November stock slide, about the company’s holdings in European sovereign debt after the Oct. 31 bankruptcy of MF Global Holdings Ltd. Handler cut the firm’s total assets by 23 percent to $35 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter.

Jefferies climbed 39 percent this year to $19.11 yesterday. It hit a 2 1/2-year low of $9.50 during trading on Nov. 17.

Handler told investors in December that he, Brian Friedman, chairman of the firm’s executive committee, and other senior leaders gave back their bonuses for 2011, saying at the time shareholders had a “tough year.” Jefferies will “protect our scarce dollars” by clawing back 2011 bonuses from any employee who leaves for a competitor this year, Handler said in December.

Friedman’s Award

Friedman was granted a $10.5 million package for fiscal 2011, the filing shows, including a $750,000 salary and $9.75 million in restricted stock units that were granted in 2010. Chief Financial Officer Peregrine Broadbent received $1.88 million.

The firm gave employees a choice for the stock-based portion of their annual bonuses. Workers could choose between accepting the firm’s shares and taking cash at a 25 percent discount, a move that boosted Jefferies’s cash-compensation expense by $17.5 million, according to its annual report.

Morgan Stanley cut CEO James Gorman’s 2011 pay 25 percent to $10.5 million as yearly profit dropped 13 percent and shares fell 44 percent, a person familiar with the plans said in January. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. gave Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein a $7 million restricted-stock bonus for 2011, a decrease from $12.6 million a year earlier.

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