Ive been giggling ever since that story pre xmas that investment bankers were this years panto badies. But hey this is serious stuff. These are the guys that set the worlds economy alight and seem to have very little remorse.
Does seem as the media is now moving toward specific finger pointing and the blame game. The Sunday Times displayed prominent bankers (and Gordon Brown) as criminal mugshots in yesterdays paper (The Bosses that broke Britain). The FT recently carried an op-ed openly attacking individuals for their part in the woes of the world economy.
News today that John Thain (ex Merrill Lynch, now ex BofA and pictured above) will repay the $1.2m cost of renovating his office (items bought included $87,000 for rugs, $68,000 for a 19th century credenza and $35,115 for a "commode on legs") . Good of him, eh.
John Thain, of course, is the guy that sold ML to BofA during the time of the collapse of Lehman brothers and promptly sanctioned $4bn of bonuses to ML staff. This would have been a huge award even in profitable years but given Merrills lost $40bn its extraordinary (and we suggest alittle naughty!). Heres the sequence of events (FT)
● Sept 13-15 2008: John Thain agrees deal to sell Merrill to Bank of America
● Dec 8: Merrill board approves $4bn in bonuses to employees
● Dec 17: BofA’s Ken Lewis asks federal government for $20bn infusion
● Dec 29: Merrill pays the cash portion of its bonuses; remainder paid out in BofA stock on Jan 2
● Jan 16: BofA discloses $2.4bn fourth-quarter loss – dwarfed by a pre-merger loss of $15.3bn by Merrill
● Jan 22: Merrill’s accelerated bonus payments revealed by the Financial Times. Lewis dismisses ThainIn other news Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has been forced to step down as head of the Prince of Wales’s personal charity. Ouch. Whats next for the 'the worlds worst banker'? His title?