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Morning Coffee: Bank of America's big salary and bonus generosity. Compliance job nightmare

Happy days for Jim De Mare

There have been mixed reports of bonuses at Bank of America. While some people there were pleasantly surprised, others are said to have had a Citi-esque shock. At the top of the investment bank, however, all was well.

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Bank of America issued its 2023 proxy statement yesterday. It showed that popular head of trading Jim De Mare received an 11% pay rise to $21m, while head of banking Matthew Koder received a 5% pay rise to $16.5m. Both men received bigger bonuses. They also received $1m salaries, up from $667k salaries just two years ago.

BofA's generosity to the men running its investment bank comes after it was more circumspect in its pay for CEO Brian Moynihan, whose compensation was trimmed for the second year running, to $29m.

While Brian's dwindling bonus might be down to his sheer enthusiasm for the job, meaning he doesn't need more pay to stay, De Mare and Koder were paid more last year because their respective divisions delivered the highest revenues on record. De Mare's global markets also had zero loss making trading days and he ran mentoring programs and conversed with senior leaders. Koder expanded middle market coverage and offered "employee programs and resources." This is how to make the big bucks.

While both men should be happy, though, De Mare might be happiest. Not only is he earning more than Koder, but on a longer time horizon, Koder appears to have a pay cut. In 2021, Koder was earning $20m. Last year, profits in his global banking business were 4% higher than they were then.

Separately, spare a thought for the people working in compliance. Financial News suggests theirs is a grueling existence, struggling with "policy overload", understaffing and senior management willingness to sacrifice their mental health to the pursuit of revenues. “Everyone was just throwing me under the bus,” says one compliance officer, who was deluged with requests from the regulator. "It keeps getting pushed down your throat that you are the risk owner. I have all the responsibility but none of the power… You’re in touch with regulators, with clients, it’s exhausting.”


Nomura has set up a new unit called Nomura Capital Management to house its high-yield bond strategy and its private credit investments. (Bloomberg) 

Paul Marshall, hedge fund manager and evangelical Christian, is building a media empire to battle what he describes as the “mutant siblings” of capitalism: the “cronies” colluding at Davos, monopolies and “woke” corporations. (Financial Times) 

Running 340 miles through the Mojave Desert connecting Death Valley Boulevard to mountains near the California-Nevada border can be a good way to network with people who invest in hedge funds. (Institutional Investor) 

HSBC wants to recruit about 50 more bankers in its U.S. commercial bank to lend to startup companies, mainly in the technology and healthcare sectors. (Reuters) 

Raymond James hired 10 people from Citi's Municipal Bond trading team. (Bloomberg) 

Balyasny hired some more portfolio managers from Weiss, LMR and Schonfeld. (Bloomberg) 

Weiss Multistrategy Advisors is closing, but only after attempting to sell itself to Millennium. (Bloomberg) 

Daniel Davies on how to handle co-heads in investment banks. (Alphaville) 

Cantor Fitzgerald is in a dispute with some departed ex-bankers who left to set up a power and energy team. Cantor says they poached clients. They say they didn't get bonuses. (Bloomberg)  

Employees first saw remote work as an exigency, then an amenity, and now a right. Some have quit rather than give it up. One bank chief recalls drafting countless memos ordering employees back to the office only to have them vetoed by the human-resources department. (WSJ) 

Apes have several jokey behaviours. They include poking, hiding, offering but then withdrawing an object or body part, pulling on hair, stealing (apparently just for the sake of it), quickly leaning in towards another’s face and staring, and swinging close by another ape. (BPS) 

“Adderall, caffeine and stimulants helped with getting things done, but with the advent of AI, productivity is becoming less valuable. Psychedelics can help with the kind of divergent, creative thinking that’s more required now.” (Bloomberg) 

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Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • J.
    J. Compliance
    12 March 2024

    Career financial services compliance VP/Senior Associate here - take everything with a grain of salt, most of us are chronic complainers! Unless you really have a major oversight that causes your firm to be fined/get an MRIA, or you consistently miss deadlines, you take the trade off of mid pay for the extra job security. Risk averse pay for a risk averse field. The work burden is unsustainable but hey, who’s isn’t?

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