With bonuses slashed, investment bankers are starting to turn on their own. The year money forgot saw a handful of opportunistic contrarians stack up the tall dollars. Now they're getting cut down in the press.
A hedge-fund manager who made $3.7 billion — yes, with a b — in 2008 by betting against the subprime mortgage market and the investment banks, like Lehman Brothers, that had profited from it. No relation to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. (PIty. Wouldn't it be juicy if he were?)
An investment banker who worked only a few days at Merrill Lynch before Bank of America bought the troubled brokerage house, but walked away with a $25 million bonus — at a time when the government was propping up Merrill and Bank of America with a taxpayer-funded bailout. He then bought a $37 million Park Avenue apartment we dubbed "the People's Palace." At his new job as CEO of AllianceBernstein, he's due for a $6 million bonus this year and $50 million in stock over five years.
Hugh "Skip" McGee III
McGee, the head of U.S. banking for Lehman, helped negotiate the sale in bankruptcy of Lehman's U.S. operations to Barclay's the British bank. In the process, he argued the place would fall apart without him, and scored a two-year, $50 million contract, even as Lehman laid off thousands. “I’m feeling nauseous right now even thinking about McGee’s deal," one fomer Lehman banker told the Daily Beast. Update: Peter Truell, Barclays' director of corporate communication, called to say the Beast's figure was "categorically false," but wouldn't tell me what McGee's actual compensation was. Could be higher, could be lower! Anyone care to fill us in?
Nauseous, or envious? These three are clearly brilliant bankers. Anyone who could make so much money in a dissolving marketplace probably deserves outsized pay. Which is why it's so funny to see Wall Street pinstripes complaining about their success. Their only sin: reserving their skills for their own pocketbooks.