Execs Were Paid $3B to Lay Credit Crisis Foundation

Wall Street chieftains were well rewarded for risks they took in 2003-07
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2008 5:45 PM CDT
Former Bear Stearns hedge fund manager Ralph Cioffi, exits Brooklyn federal court following a scheduled hearing, Friday, July 18, 2008, in New York.    (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
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(Newser) – More than $3 billion was paid to the chief executives of the five biggest financial firms on Wall Street in the run-up to the credit crisis, Bloomberg reports. While supervising bad mortgage-related credit bets that eventually brought the financial system to its knees, Merrill Lynch’s Stanley O’Neal took in $172 million in 2003-07, while Bear Stearns’ James Cayne took in $161 million.

More number-crunching reveals:

  • The $3.1 billion paid to execs was about three times the price JP Morgan paid for Bear Stearns in June.
  • Goldman Sachs was most generous with its top players, paying out $859 million over that span.
  • Henry Paulson was among those benefiting from Goldman largesse, taking in $111 million before becoming Treasury Secretary.
  • Bear Stearns was next at $609 million.
  • With $93 billion in net income, the firms’ average pay per employee was $353,089.