Time to stop the chest-thumping…

February 5, 2009

While most of my attention was focused on the remarkable Harry Markopolos hearing yesterday, which I was live blogging on Twitter, it was hard to ignore the other big story of the day: President Obama’s new rules on executive compensation that put caps on both compensation and many of the perks that have become de rigeuer in C-suites across the country, including, as the NY Times reported today, at banks you’ve never heard of before.

Since a fair amount of what we do here at footnoted.org is look at pay and perks, which, of course, are usually buried in SEC filings, it seems odd not to weigh in here. I still remember last March when we footnoted about Goldman Sach’s (GS) disclosure on Lloyd Blankfein’s lunch bill. It was easy to poke fun of the disclosure at the time, especially since Goldman was still flying high. And to be fair, Blankfein’s lunch bill was immaterial so Goldman didn’t have to disclose the perk. But doing so provided a glimpse into what life was like in the C-suites there and, presumably, at other places too.

So while all of this chest-thumping about greedy bankers makes for lots of man-on-the-street outrage and is great fodder for outraged politicians, you have to wonder why all of thesse people weren’t paying attention to this before as the paychecks and the perks kept getting bigger and bolder.

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