Financial services

Will I-Banking bonuses ever be the same?

About a month or so ago I had a conversation with a VP from Goldman Sachs. We talked about work hours versus compensation in the investment banking world. We also talked about how he was seriously considering leaving the banking world to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor. The conversation could pretty much be summed up by this graph:

Until recently, many undergrad and graduate students had one career and one purpose in mind: Work for an investment bank – make a ton of money (most of which came from big bonuses).

Today, those huge bonuses are gone yet some people are sticking around these jobs thinking that one day the tide will turn and the bonuses will be back. Part of me believes this is true, that history repeats itself, and one day big paydays will be back (it’s only a matter of time before someone else exploits a flaw in the open markets).

But the other part of me thinks that this will not happen for a very, very long time.

I recently asked my cousin David Wise, who works as a compensation consultant, what his thoughts were on the big bonus payouts. In short, he made a few really good points:

  • Investment banks are dead. They are now Bank Holding Companies.
  • These banks’ Return on Equity (ROE) have dropped anywhere from 20%-30% to 10%-15%. Less money for shareholders. Less money for employees.
  • The current compensation and incentive structures are broken and need to be fixed.

It’s going to be a very interesting 2009, 2010, 2011….

David’s take on compensation below in a recent CBS news interview:

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Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die – $C

Citibank N.A.
Image via Wikipedia

This was too funny to not post…

(Sent to me from Rachel Glickman)

Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die.

This is so priceless, and so, so easy to see happening, customer service being what it is today.

A lady died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for its annual service charges on her credit card, and added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00 when she died, but now somewhere around $60.00. A family member placed a call to Citibank.

Here is the exchange :

Family Member: ‘I am calling to tell you she died back in January.’

Citibank: ‘The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.’

Family Member: ‘Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.’

Citibank: ‘Since it is two months past due, it already has been.’

Family Member: So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?’

Citibank: ‘Either report her account to frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!’

Family Member: ‘Do you think God will be mad at her?’

Citibank: ‘Excuse me?’

Family Member: ‘Did you just get what I was telling you – the part about her being dead?’

Citibank: ‘Sir, you’ll have to speak to my supervisor.’

Supervisor gets on the phone:

Family Member: ‘I’m calling to tell you, she died back in January with a $0 balance.’

Citibank: ‘The account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply.’

Family Member: ‘You mean you want to collect from her estate?’

Citibank: (Stammer) ‘Are you her lawyer?’

Family Member: ‘No, I’m her great nephew.’ (Lawyer info was given)

Citibank: ‘Could you fax us a certificate of death?’

Family Member: ‘Sure.’ (Fax number was given )

After they get the fax :

Citibank: ‘Our system just isn’t set up for death. I don’t know what more I can do to help.’

Family Member: ‘Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. She won’t care.’

Citibank: ‘Well, the late fees and charges will still apply.’

(What is wrong with these people?!?)

Family Member: ‘Would you like her new billing address?’

Citibank: ‘That might help…’

Family Member: ‘ Odessa Memorial Cemetery , Highway 129, Plot Number 69.’

Citibank: ‘Sir, that’s a cemetery!’

Family Member: ‘And what do you do with dead people on your planet???’

You wondered why Citi is going broke and need the feds to bail them out!!

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