Ten years after crisis, bank CEOs’ pay on the rise again

NEW YORK: Ten years after Wall Street recklessness helped lead to the Great Recession, compensation for top bank CEOs is soaring even as pay flattens at junior levels.

Compensation figures released so far by large banks this year suggest a rich season for CEOs, despite myriad worries for markets, including slowing global growth, trade wars and Brexit uncertainty.

Compensation for Mr Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, the biggest US bank by assets, hit US$31 million (S$42m) last year, up 5.1 per cent from 2017 and his highest pay since the 2008 financial crisis.

At Morgan Stanley, Chief Executive James Gorman will take home US$29 million, up 7 per cent.

The biggest six US banks last year reported a record US$117.6 billion in profits, with JPMorgan notching its highest-ever annual income of US$32.5 billion and Morgan Stanley also hitting a new peak at US$8.2 billion.

Pay among JPMorgan's 256,000 employees rose an average of 4.4 per cent, while compensation for Morgan Stanley's 60,300 workers dipped 2 per cent, according to an analysis published over the weekend by the Financial Times.

The gap between CEOs and rank-and-file employees remains astronomical.

At JPMorgan, Mr Dimon's salary is more than 364 times the median employee salary, while at Morgan Stanley, Mr Gorman's compensation is some 192 times greater than that of a median employee, according to the AFL-CIO. - AFP