Top Firm Staff Bagged $2.5bn

The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to a new study released by Harvard Law School professionals, executives at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers cashed out to the tune of around $2.5bn in bonuses and stock sales in the 8 years to 2008.

The study reveal that, despite the fact that Bear CEO Jimmy Cayne and Lehman boss Dick Fuld sustained paper losses of around $900m on the value of their remaining stock in their firms when they went down, Cayne still managed to walk off with $388m in the period, while Fuld did even better with $541m.

The newspaper also reports that Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis has said that he would consider postponing his retirement (due at the end of the year) in order to provide his board with more time to come up with a successor. And Bloomberg reports that, given the difficulty of finding a credible candidate who is willing to take on the role, the board may go back and revisit the idea of appointing an interim CEO into 2010, giving it more time to find a long-term replacement for Lewis.

In the meantime, The Financial Times reports that JPMorgan confirmed Friday that it is to pay $1.67bn to complete the buyout of JPMorgan Cazenove. As 90% of the shares JPMorgan doesn't already own belong to current or former JPMorgan Cazenove staff, many will have a lot to celebrate this Christmas. The deal will close in early 2010.

And Bloomberg reports that Morgan Stanley has handed over its Crescent real estate business to Barclays Capital in exchange for forgiveness on a $2bn loan which was used to acquire the unit in 2007. Morgan Stanley is said to have taken a loss of close to $1bn on the deal.

The Financial Times also reports that Nomura has appointed Dame Clara Furse, the former CEO over at The London Stock Exchange, to its board as a non-executive director. Her role is thought likely to be confined to helping the firm in the UK.

And The Times reports that UK fund manager Gartmore is planning to list half of its equity in a mid-December float which could generate $823m. The money will be used to pay down debt and will also result in staggered payouts to staff, who themselves own 50% of the stock being sold.

Finally, The New York Times reports that Richard Cordray, attorney general of Ohio, has sued ratings agencies Moody's, Standard and Poor's and Fitch, claiming that, by mis-rating high risk securities, they cost state retirement and pension fund some $457m. Cordray said: 'We believe that the credit rating agencies, in exchange for fees, departed from their objective, neutral role as arbiters. At minimum, they were aiding and abetting misconduct by issuers'.

JefferiesAnd the Best Place to Work in the global financial markets 2017 is...

Register for Financial Markets News Alerts