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Agence France-Presse

Wall Street Pays Out Billions in Record Compensation: Report


Traders jump for joy on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. According to a new report, total Wall Street pay and bonuses are on track to break a record high for the second year in a row. (Drew/AP)

WASHINGTON — Financial institutions on Wall Street are preparing to
pay a record 144 billion dollars in compensation and benefits, according
to a study published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal.

payout, covering bonuses, premiums and stock options for the firm's
executives and employees, is a four-percent raise over the previous
record 139 billion dollars that was handed over in 2009, said the
financial daily.

The study, which covers 35 Wall Street firms --
including banks, investment banks, hedge funds and money managing groups
-- found that 29 of the institutions were also expected to see revenue
rise by three percent, from 433 to 448 billion dollars.

The 2010
profit for the firms of some 61 billion dollars is still a 20 percent
decline on the 82 billion dollars in 2006 -- despite in that time
compensation at the institutions soared 23 percent, according to the

Wall Street banks and funds have already come under
withering criticism for their actions during the 2008 financial crisis
and faced the fury of the US public for paying out huge bonuses even
though some were propped up by taxpayer funds to keep afloat.

June US authorities announced guidelines aimed at countering pay and
bonus practices blamed for the excessive risk taking that fueled the
global financial crisis.

The rules, however, did not prohibit any
specific forms of payment for incentive compensation or establish
mandatory compensation levels or caps.

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