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Late Lunchtime Links: Is there a ceiling of $400k on top programmers’ compensation? French banks could yet end up paying very well for 2011

This is why you've hit the ceiling

This is why you've hit the ceiling

Sergey Aleynikov is (soon to be) free. In a move that will surely bring hope to all programmers everywhere, the Russian programmer accused of stealing code from Goldman Sachs has had his conviction overturned. Aleynikov was to have been incarcerated for 8 years.

His release follows an appeal court judgement that the US Economic Espionage Act – under which Aleynikov had been convicted – does not apply to his case – which should therefore have been tried in a state court instead.

It also revives the question of how much top programmers can earn compared to top traders. The New York Times claims that Aleynikov’s $400k compensation at Goldman placed him among the firm’s top earning programmers. And yet this seems low: average compensation at Goldman was $498k in 2009 and $317k in 2008. The implication is that top paid programmers are not that well paid after all.

Separately, both BNP Paribas and SocGen have cut their bonus pools by 50%. However, the Wall Street Journal cites research by Deutsche Bank suggested employees at either institution could yet do very well out of any deferred stock bonuses allocated in 2011. BNP trades at just 0.5 times its forecast 2012 book value, says Deutsche; SocGen trades at just 0.4 times. Both have been discounted due to the Euro crisis. In the event that the crisis passes, their share prices could rise very considerably.

Meanwhile:

Sounds like HSBC may be hiring in ECM. (Bloomberg)

Harvey Nash looked at headquarters in New York, Dublin, Zurich and Hong Kong and then decided upon Canary Wharf. (Evening Standard)

VTB has hired a senior credit trader from BarCap. (CreditFlux) 

At the height of the boom, bank equity returns touched 30 per cent. Higher leverage accounted for almost all of this. (London Review of Books) 

Andrew Osborne, the Merrill trader fined £350k in the Greenlight Capital case, has a “number of options open, including in the oil industry and in banking”. (Guardian) 

Seven more people are worth millions at Glencore. And they are: Stuart Cutler, the director of ferrochrome (£329m); Chris Mahoney, the director of agriculture, (£606m); Gary Fegel, the director of aluminium, (£653m). Luis Alvarez, aLondonoil trader, (£344m); Nikola Popovic, head of the Kazzinc subsidiary, (£394m); and Christian Wolfenberger, director of iron ore (£367m). (The Times) 

What bankers really do.(Twitter) 


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  1. Harvey Nash did not decide on Canary Wharf. Heron Tower is in the City.

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