Energy banker nets $30m Citigroup pay deal

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The Independent Online

Citigroup's new investment banking deal maker in the energy sector will be paid around $30m over the next three years, signalling that elite bankers are once again able to make big-money pay demands, even at companies which have not paid back US taxpayer bailout funds.

Stephen Trauber, one of the most powerful bankers in the energy sector in Houston, home of the US oil and gas industry, was poached by Citigroup after his previous employer, UBS, baulked at a string of financial demands.

Mr Trauber had asked for access to UBS's corporate jet for 150 hours a year, and had demanded that the Swiss bank set up a ring-fenced bonus pool for him and his team which could have guaranteed large pay-outs for the energy team regardless of profits across the bank.

After Citigroup announced it has lured Mr Trauber two weeks ago, he told Bloomberg News: "At the end of the day, this was not about the quantity of money, it's about the assurance of money."

Yesterday, Citigroup denied that it had offered Mr Trauber a guaranteed bonus, of the kind that has caused controversy since bailout of the banking industry, and it declined to confirm the scale of the expected pay package, which was first revealed in The Wall Street Journal.

Mr Trauber will be paid $9m or more for 2010, despite only officially joining the company towards the end of the year. He is expected to reap similar pay-outs in each of the next two years.

The 48-year-old banker has pulled together more than 300 energy sector mergers and acquisitions in a career spanning over two decades. Earlier this year, he was adviser to Smith International on its $11bn takeover of Schlumberger, which netted UBS $30m in fees.