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Opinion
Marc Rubinstein

The Bonus Boom Is Up Against a Shareholder Wall

The demands of corporate investors and regulators will tighten Wall Street’s freewheeling ways when it comes to compensation.

David Solomon, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., where bonuses soared this year.

David Solomon, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., where bonuses soared this year.

Photographer: Bryan van der Beek/Bloomberg

The tension between labor and capital is as old as capitalism. On Wall Street, it plays out each year in bonus discussions, which began last week among the large firms.

The process hasn’t changed much since Michael Lewis first described it in Liar’s Poker. Staff are summoned into meetings with line managers and given a few words of appraisal before being informed of their “number” for the year.