There is incendiary (and hitherto overlooked) material buried in the court documents filed last week by Megan Messina, the 42 year-old global co-head of structured products at BAML, who’s accusing the bank of underpaying women.
As shown in the table below, Messina’s documents include figures detailing just how much (based upon ‘information and belief’) she believes her male counterparts at BofA have been paid over the past three years. The answer is, a lot. More than a lot: huge amounts. Messina thinks that Bank of America still pays its male traders millions and millions.
In the three years since 2013, Messina alleges that Bank of America has paid 13 senior traders – David Lee, Dan Bird, Lawrence Wolfson, David Trepanier, Mike Winn, John Klein, Mike Lee, Oliver Wong, Colin Stewart, Brian Callahan, Mayur Jethwa, Scott Chestman over $140m, with individuals like Lawrence Wolfson – head of high yield trading – alone allegedly paid $18m.
The alleged figures aren’t as high as pay at Merrill Lynch prior to the financial crisis – where 11 people earned more than $10m in 2008 – but they’re still high for a bank whose global markets business achieved a return on equity of only 7% last year.
Messina’s alleged pay table is understood to be causing outrage at other banks. Especially at Goldman Sachs, where pay on the the trading floor is now said to be considerably lower. “People here are up in arms over the figures in the Messina report,” says one Goldman insider. The pain is made worse because BAML’s trading business contains plenty of ex-Goldmanites after Tom Montag joined from Goldman in 2008, and set about hiring his ex-colleagues.
Nor is it just the MDs at BAML who are allegedly rewarded generously. Messina’s court documents also allege that Aleksandar Murdzhev, a New York-based director in the structured products group, was paid $2.25m in total compensation in 2015, with a $250k base salary. She alleges that Tim Murtha, a VP in Trepanier’s group received $1.35m in total compensation in 2015, and that Ricardo Arguello, a VP-level trader, was allocated a more modest $775k.
And at the top level, Messina thinks BAML’s most senior traders earn even more. Based upon similar “information and belief”, her court documents claim that Frank Kotsen, global head of credit and special situations at BAML, earns $12m, and that co-head of FICC James DeMare earns $15m.
While male traders from across the market queue up to join Bank of America in light of these figures, female traders may want to think twice. Despite impeccable annual reviews, Messina alleges that she was paid less than her peers. She claims that the bank underpaid her by an average of $2.75m a year and that she’s due a total of $8.3m in back pay.
Messina’s figures may, of course, be wrong. Bank of America declined to comment, but insiders suggested they are not accurate.