Morgan Stanley and Citigroup got $60 billion in bailout cash, and they need to cut $1.1 billion from their budgets for their merger, so, naturally, they're paying $3 billion in bonuses for performance. Sorry, "awards."
The HuffPo obtained audio of a conference call with Morgan Stanley's James Gorgman, finally answering everyone's questions on whether they'd be rewarded for their performance in 2008. Good news: yes! But please watch your language.
"There will be a retention award. Please do not call it a bonus," said James Gorman, co-president of Morgan Stanley. "It is not a bonus. It is an award. And it recognizes the importance of keeping our team in place as we go through this integration."
There is an important difference between a "bonus" and an "award," after all. A "bonus" implies that an employee met a specific goal. An "award" is just, like, "you're awesome, here's an award!"
As we all know, financial firms need to pay out these bonuses if they want to retain their top talent, because in this fantastic Wall Street job market you just never know when your best financial analyst is going to decide to move to a shack in Montana or jump off a bridge.
So they're being extra generous: the bonuses will be tied to 2008 performance, and not 2009 performance, because none of this "top talent" is expected to make any money in 2009, when the merger will actually take place, because their awesome 2008 performance broke the fucking economy.