Compensation on Wall Street is down across the board, unless of course you’re on the board.
High pay for directors at large banks has gone largely unnoticed, mainly because the compensation pales in comparison to the cash hoards earmarked for C-level executives. Average board member pay at the six largest U.S. banks reached $328,655 in 2011, nearly $100,000 more than what other non-financial institutions paid, according to the New York Times, citing compensation data firm Equilar.
Unsurprisingly, Goldman Sachs led the group in director pay, doling out an average of $488,709 in 2011, the last year data was available. The number is expected to increase substantially for 2012 due to Goldman’s strong end of the year.
Unnamed Wall Street executives tell the Times that the figures are surprising for two reasons. One: it’s a part time job. Most board members have several major responsibilities outside of the bank’s board room.
Secondly, the role of the board has been diminished, in some degree, due to new regulations imposed on Wall Street. Boards are now more guided in their decisions, especially when it comes to executive pay.
Moreover, the breakdown in director pay doesn’t seem all that equitable. Average compensation at Bank of America and J.P. Morgan was nearly $100,000 less than the average at Morgan Stanley and more than $200,000 less than the average at Goldman. And this was in 2011, before the ‘London Whale’ trading debacle surfaced, and when Goldman was less than spectacular.
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