Merrill Bonus Beneficiaries May Be Revealed Within Week

BoA argues that disclosure will give competitors an unfair advantage
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2009 2:15 PM CDT
Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis arrives at the building that houses the New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office, Feb. 26, 2009, in New York.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A decision could come next week on disclosure of the names of Merrill Lynch employees who received $3.6 billion in bonuses last year, despite the firm posting a $15.8 billion fourth-quarter loss, Bloomberg reports. Bank of America argued today against release, saying its compensation scheme would be a “road map” for competitors, revealing which business lines and employees the firm values most.

That would allow rivals to poach the bank’s top employees. Those individuals “care about their privacy,” argued a BoA attorney. “If we don’t try to protect it, we’ll lose them to foreign banks.” New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo dismissed BoA’s arguments. Compensation structure is no secret, and protecting it is “not a reason for the court to create a handcuffing of an investigation.”