Morgan Stanley Said to Defer Bonuses to Top Bankers, TradersMichael J. Moore
Morgan Stanley, the investment bank that’s cutting 1,600 jobs, is deferring 100 percent of bonuses for some senior bankers and traders over three years, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The deferrals apply to employees who have both total pay of more than $350,000 and bonuses of at least $50,000, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans hadn’t been announced. Mark Lake, a spokesman for New York-based Morgan Stanley, declined to comment. Reuters reported on the plan earlier today.
Morgan Stanley last year capped most cash bonuses at $125,000 as it seeks to tie employees to the firm and satisfy regulators’ demands for long-term incentives. Chief Executive Officer James Gorman, 54, has said banks need to balance rewards to employees with shareholder returns.
Morgan Stanley set aside $5.17 billion for compensation in its investment-banking and trading division in the first nine months of 2012, a 9 percent decline from a year earlier. Return on equity, excluding charges tied to changes in the value of the company’s own debt, was about 5 percent in the first three quarters and below Gorman’s target of 15 percent.
Banks are cutting pay and increasing deferrals as investors demand higher returns. Deutsche Bank AG is weighing 2012 bonus cuts of as much as 20 percent for investment bankers in Europe, while those in New York will see smaller declines, four people briefed on the matter said this week. The Frankfurt-based lender also is increasing the vesting period for deferred bonuses for about 150 senior managers to five years from three, and will make a single payout after the deferral period ends rather than staggered payments each year.
Jefferies Group Inc., the investment bank selling itself to Leucadia National Corp., has broken from that trend, saying it will pay employees year-end bonuses in immediately available cash.
Deferred bonuses for affected employees at Morgan Stanley will be paid 50 percent in cash and 50 percent in stock, said the person briefed on the matter. Bankers will get a quarter of the cash in May, with another quarter coming in each of the following three Decembers, the person said. The stock also will be paid over three years with the first installment in December.
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