Bear turns into fat cat after $160m Wall St windfall

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The Independent Online

The president of the major American investment bank Bear Stearns will receive a windfall of more than $160m (£90m), marking one of the largest payouts, even by the standards of Wall Street, where high-flying bank-ers' remuneration is many multiples of their UK equivalents.

The president of the major American investment bank Bear Stearns will receive a windfall of more than $160m (£90m), marking one of the largest payouts, even by the standards of Wall Street, where high-flying bank-ers' remuneration is many multiples of their UK equivalents.

Warren Spector, who is also the bank's joint chief operating officer, will receive the one-off payment as a deferred compensation bonus for staying with the company for more than 10 years.

It will be paid to him in stock on 30 November. According to a regulatory filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr Spector will be handed 2.2 million shares, of which he will immediately sell 1.9 million back to the company.

The total value of the transaction to Mr Spector at the company's current share price would be more than $160m.

Bear Stearns, whose large- scale clearing operations provide the backbone for much of Wall Street's transactions, attempted to play down surprised responses to the size of the bonus, saying it was an accumulation of deferred compensation bonuses.

The money comes on top of an annual bonus, which is paid out immediately. Mr Spector also receives the same $200,000 basic salary paid to all senior executives at Bear Stearns.

The bank said the size of the payment reflected the fact that Mr Spector, who has worked at the broking and banking group since the 1980s, had directed a considerable amount of his bonuses into the deferred compensation scheme over the years.

The bank denied that Mr Spector's plans to sell almost all of the shares he will receive signalled his intention to leave the bank, saying he would continue to own more than a million shares in the business.

Overall, Bear Stearns will distribute about $219m to its employees at the end of November.

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