The Wall St Bonus has come roaring back. Facing a fed-up public, however, the rich are keeping indulgences under wraps.
Last year, investment bankers and their spouses kept their wallets shut during bonus season, first, out of panic, and later, fearing mobs with torches would descend upon their gated estates.Now, after a year of self-imposed austerity and in what is shaping up as a spectacular bonus season, the Wall Street crowd is shaking off what one luxury retailer called its “frugal fatigue.” Unlike earlier spending sprees, however, the consumption will be a lot less conspicuous.On Wednesday, Morgan Stanley said it was setting aside $14.4 billion for salary and bonuses, or $235,000 per employee. A day later Goldman Sachs said it would pay an average of $498,000, with top producers at each of the two banks earning in the millions.More than in past years, this year’s bonus numbers are stirring deep resentment in a nation staggering under 10 percent unemployment.
By Laura M. Holson, Jan. 24, 2010 NYT