Merrill Lynch Unveils New Stock Incentive Plan

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Merrill Lynch has handed out over $50m of shares to senior employees as the bank introduces a new three-year stock incentive program.

Greg Fleming, co-president of global markets and investment, received the highest stock award of 163,662 Merrill shares, worth $12m at the current share price, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ahmass Fakahany, chief administrative officer, received $10.8m worth of shares. Robert McCann, president of global private client services, was awarded $8.9m. Jeffrey Edwards, chief financial officer, got $6.3m worth of shares. Rosemary Berkery, general counsel, was awarded $5.9m in stock.

At Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, Bob Doll, president and chief investment officer, was awarded $6.1m of shares.

The bank has also adopted a new three-year incentive program, called the managing partner incentive program for certain members of executive and senior management of the bank, which will run in addition to their stock options and awards of restricted stock units.

The initial goal of the program is to increase annual return on equity performance over the next three years, according to an SEC filing.

One of the conditions of joining the new program is that staff must provide Merrill Lynch with at least six months advance written notice prior to the termination of their employment and that during this notice period, they cannot work for another employer or hire Merrill staff.

Last week Merrill reported that global markets and investment banking business surged 30% to a record $5bn last year after a strong performance from trading. At Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, pre-tax profits rose 27% to a record $586m. Net revenues grew 14% to $1.8bn.

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