Here's One Top Firm That's Paying Employees More

A Billion Dollars

No one like's a good news story - especially if it's to do with someone else's compensation.

OK, Morgan Stanley may have recently made it easier to clawback executive compensation, capped cash bonuses at $125,000 for last year and reduced pay for senior staff by up to 30%, but that's all history now.

2012 has got off to a decent start on the pay front at Morgan Stanley. Bloomberg reports that the firm set aside $2.11bn to pay employees at its investment-banking division in the first quarter, 10% more than a year earlier.

Companywide compensation and benefits rose 3% to $4.43bn as adjusted revenue increased 14% to $8.9bn. That was enough to pay each of the firm’s 59,569 employees $74,384 on average for the period, more than the $68,567 it set aside for each of the 62,494 employees a year earlier.

Q1 comp pots at most other Wall Street firms (Goldman, JPMorgan) were down quite substantially. But Morgan Stanley took the plaudits in the first quarter.

Firm CEO James Gorman noted the 'strength in sales and trading, which showed broad-based gains across products and regions'.

Matt McCormick, money manager, at Bahl & Gaynor in Cincinnati, Ohio said that he thought the firm's commodities business had beat the rest of Wall Street, and Nomura analyst Glenn Schorr told his clients: 'Great trading results, OK banking and wealth-management numbers and solid expense trends all combined to produce the best quarter we’ve seen at MS in a long time'.

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