By Lauren Tara LaCapra
As 2012 comes to an end, it’s clear that Wall Street has had the best-worst year in quite some time.
Bank profits are at record highs and lows, driven by free money from the Fed that they can’t make any money with, and a historically small number of historically huge deals. Facebook’s IPO – among the biggest ever – happened this year, and it was an enormous failure and a terrific success all at once.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, just take a look at the big-tiny payday that Wall Street employees are expected to get this year: bonuses for bankers, traders and money managers are supposed to rise up to 10 percent, in what a top pay consultant called one of the weakest years in a decade or more. Since big banks have been required to shift more bonus money into restricted stock with clawback provisions, some employees even feel like they’re getting punished by those bigger paychecks.
Perhaps 2012 was best summed up by Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, who was asked earlier this year how he felt about the outlook for Wall Street.
“Gun to my head, I tend to be a little more positive,” Blankfein said on Bloomberg Television.