30 Jun 2008

Compensation: what now for cash vs stock split?

Some recent commentators have predicted that in the future the Securities Industry will pay a higher proportion of total compensation in the form of shares and options in order to stimulate a more risk-conscious behaviour pattern among staff. While this may sound plausible it does not necessarily make sense for the majority of employees in a securities firm.
Why should the government bond trader whose P&L is clearly visible at the end of each day and whose book does not contain any long-term risks be paid in instalments that only become due many years after he has produced the goods?The recent - and ongoing collapse - in the share prices of most brokerage firms and banks is in the majority hitting employees who did not have any influence on the poor decisions made by the senior management of those firms. To add insult to injury one could say that the top executives who have been asked to leave have done much better than those employees that are left behind and have to suffer the consequences of a rapid decline in the value of their company stock or share options that the ineptness of the departing senior managers has caused.