From the Wall Street Journal: Banks Set for Record Pay

Top Firms on Pace to Award $145 Billion for 2009, Up 18%, WSJ Study Finds

The surge in bonuses comes barely a year after the government bailed out the U.S. financial system amid the worst economic crisis in generations. This year major U.S. banks and securities firms are poised to pay their employees a record amount in compensation and benefits—about $145.85 billion, according to the Journal’s analysis.
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"The companies have done well since the meltdown," said Mike Shah, a lawyer at Jones Day who advises companies on executive pay, employee benefits and corporate governance. "Some of it has to do with government assistance," he says. But the issue for corporate boards of directors, which make pay decisions, is this, Mr. Shah says: "You can’t just say, ‘There is a lot of populist anger out there, so we are not going to compensate our executives who have worked hard to recover some shareholder value.’ "
 
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