It was always likely to end in tears for British bankers in London. People who've worked for Lehman Brothers in the U.S. are used to being well paid. How well paid? Well...Dick Fuld received $484m in salary, bonuses and stock options between 2000 and 2008; Robert Millard, head of Lehman's global trading strategies group was paid $51.3m in 2007, $44.5m in 2006 and $3.8m in 2005; and the mostly lowly of Lehman's top 50 staff in 2008 received $8.2m for that year alone.
Nowadays many of these fabulously paid Lehmanites work for Barclays investment bank in the U.S. And guess what - they still expect to be handsomely remunerated.
Barclays has just released its annual report for 2013. Therein, is the bank's remuneration report. This makes one thing clear: Barclays' bankers in the U.S. are getting the lion's share of high pay.
Witness the chart below (and the comments below that).
In an interview, Barclays' chief executive Antony Jenkins told the Telegraph that the bank was in danger of falling into a 'death spiral' as its best staff left and the franchise was eroded. This seems to have been a particular danger in the U.S., where the bank's remuneration report states there was a 'near doubling' of staff resignations last year as it failed to keep pace with pay at competitor U.S. banks and imposed a punitive 100% deferral over three years for managing directors. In an effort to remedy this, the bonus pool at Barclays' investment bank rose from £2,168m to £2,378m last year. Much of that £210m increase seems likely to have gone to its investment bankers in New York.
Barclays' U.S. bankers have ex-Lehmanite Skip McGee to thank for their good fortune. McGee was promoted to chief executive of the Americas business in April 2013. This is therefore the first year that McGee has had a say over the regional allocation of Barclays' bonus pool. He seems to have done very well by his Park Avenue colleagues indeed.