Financial Workers Take Home Big Bonuses
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
The impact of that stock market mojo that Jim just mentioned is champagne corks popping well ahead of New Year's Eve. Year-end bonuses on Wall Street have made a lot of people flush with cash. Perhaps no one more than Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of investment bank Goldman Sachs. His bonus of more than $53 million marks a new record for Wall Street.
And that bonus has made him a poster child for critics of the compensation packages that some corporate executives are receiving these days. Graef Crystal(ph) researches executive pay and writes a column for Bloomberg News.
Mr. GRAEF CRYSTAL (Bloomberg News): It's always blurry to me exactly what a CEO does. He is the leader, that's for sure. The question is, should the leader make so much money? In the industry, I've always like to joke, you know, the CEO is like the queen in "Snow White." Every night before he goes to bed, he looks at the mirror on the wall and he says, Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the highest paid of all?
MONTAGNE: Crystal points out that Goldman Sachs's shareholders also profited. In 2006, they saw the value of their shares rise 58 percent. Graef Crystal says the bank's CEO and investors benefited from a strong stock market and the flurry of takeover deals this year.
Mr. CRYSTAL: It would be nice if perhaps the people wouldn't take so much money and distribute some of it back to the shareholders or more back to the employees. But, hey, this is Wall Street.