Top Wall Street execs are considering heading off public outrage by cutting their own pay, insiders tell the Wall Street Journal. The big financial firms pay out billions in bonuses to their execs every year. They now fear a public relations disaster is looming as critics charge that the $125 billion bailout is effectively going towards pumping up the pay of the people behind the crisis.
The executives are uncomfortable with the spotlight being shined on their pay packets, but also worry that significant cuts in compensation will send their best traders—who sometimes earn more than their bosses—scurrying away to rival firms. The most likely scenario, insiders say, is one where salaries of CEOs are sharply cut but the bonus system for employees is left more or less intact.