Annals of pay transparency, BofA edition

By Felix Salmon
September 1, 2009

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Bank of America is negotiating with Treasury (ie taxpayers): it wants to pay a few hundred million dollars to get out from under the most intense government oversight, and it wants to set a new pay scheme, involving something called “phantom stock units”, at the same time. Naturally, it’s happy to share with taxpayers (and its own shareholders) all the details of this scheme. Not.

A bank spokesman declined to discuss details of the pay package but said “it is important to see the package in its entirety to understand the total thrust of what we are doing.”

This kind of arrogance is endemic to big banks, and unfortunately Treasury seems to have no problem with it. As ever, the people who ultimately pay for these things — shareholders and taxpayers — are left out in the cold, while Important Men in Suits work everything out behind closed doors. Depressing.


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Bank of America is making moves to stay competitive with the rivals, and removing excess government is required. Like I said before government needs to get out of the way of private businesses.

Posted by Dogma | Report as abusive

@Dogma, yes, government should get out of the way of private business. But companies that rely on FDIC insurance (ultimately backed by the government) and free or low cost capital from the federal reserve (ultimately backed by the government) are not private. Also, BofA should find buyers for the shares the government holds.

Posted by KenG | Report as abusive