Wall St. Bonuses Are Down, but Hardly Out

Even giants taking a federal handout set aside millions for execs
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Oct 22, 2008 9:29 AM CDT
With companies sensitive to the public-relations aspect of handing out huge cash bonuses, many employees will instead get deferred stock options.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Wall Street bonuses could top $23 billion this year despite the woes of the global economy, Forbes reports. Indeed, that figure is down some 30% from last year’s $33.2 billion, but a smaller pool of employees, competition among companies to keep top performers, and the effects of mergers will help ensure many of the Street’s stars still walk away with millions.

This year, analysts say, more bonuses will be paid in deferred stock awards than in cash, as companies heed public perceptions in light of the infusion of government cash to Wall Street. Citigroup, for example, has set aside $25.8 billion for bonuses this year; it has $25 billion in federal cash coming in.