More evidence that Wall Street pay is totally screwed up

June 25, 2015, 7:57 PM UTC
Leonardo DiCaprio is Jordan Belfort in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, from Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures. TWOWS-FF-001
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The paycheck of the top executive of Japan’s largest brokerage firm would make some Wall Streeters think about about quitting to work for a non-profit.

Koji Nagai, the CEO of Nomura Holdings (NMR), was paid a salary of 102 million yen, or roughly $830,000 during its last fiscal year. And that wasn’t a pay cut. That’s the most Nagai, or any CEO of Nomura, has been paid since at least 2010, when they first started disclosing its top salaries.

The average employee at Goldman Sachs (GS), on the other hand, made $130,000 in total compensation in just the first quarter (on pace for $520,000 this year), and that includes everyone who works at the firm, even janitors.

Nagai’s bonus and stock options bring his fiscal 2015 (which ended in March) pay package up to the equivalent of $2.65 million. But even that’s peanuts compared to the salaries of Wall Street’s top executives. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein got a pay package of $24 million last year, and he’s eligible for another $7 million on top of that if the firm performs well over the next few years. Even Goldman’s lowest paid top executive, CFO Harvey Schwartz, made just over $20 million last year.

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, who runs the largest brokerage firm in the U.S., got a 25% pay hike last year, to $22.5 million. The firm’s profits were up 19%, but a key measure of profitability, return on equity, has languished at Morgan Stanley (MS), and, at 5%, it is one of the lowest on the Street. Nomura’s profits surged to a nine-year high, and its ROE is 8.5%. Nagai got a 10% raise.

There doesn’t seem to be a single top executive among Wall Street’s largest firms that was paid anywhere close to as little as Nagai. Citigroup’s CFO, John Gerspach, comes closest. He made just over $8 million last year.

The lowest paid named executive of Stifel Financial, which owns a regional brokerage firm and some other niche Wall Street businesses, was paid $3.3 million last year, or $650,000 more than Nagai.

Wall Street executives have said for a few years now that they have plans to get their firm’s profitability back up to where it was before the financial crisis. Cutting their own paychecks, obviously, won’t do it alone. But it’s not a bad place to start.

Read More

CryptocurrencyInvestingBanksReal Estate