Bear Stearns Executives To Share $305 Million

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Bear Stearns has approved a bonus pool of up to $305 million for 13 members of staff, or more than $20 million each, if the U.S. bank exceeds performance targets.

The five-member executive committee could share a maximum bonus of $165 million, and another eight participants could be paid up to $140 million for the 2006 financial year, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The size of the bonus pool is based on the bank's return on equity. The bankers will not receive a bonus if the targets are not met and a maximum of $165 million if Bear Stearns exceeds its upper target range. The five members are James Cayne, chairman and chief executive; Alan Schwartz and Warren Spector, co-presidents; Samuel Molinaro, chief financial officer; and Alan Greenberg, chairman of the executive committee.

The bank also has a second bonus pool of up to $140 million for another eight unidentified participants, in which payments will be based on a combination of pre-tax return on equity, departmental income and expense controls.

The amounts for both bonus pools are the same as last year. The bank has not yet disclosed last year's bonuses, but in 2004 Cayne received $24.7 million, including a $10 million bonus and share options. The other four members of the executive committee shared $41 million.

Last year's bonuses should be higher. In November, Bear Stearns reported record profits for the fourth consecutive year.

At the time, the bank said it paid $250 million in settlement of investigations into mutual fund trading by U.S. regulators.

Last year, Bear Stearns Asset Management lost a mandate from an Illinois state fund following poor performance and the involvement of the group's securities arm in the U.S. mutual fund trading scandal.

The bank's annual filing also said it had been subpoenaed by regulators seeking information on its Chicago-based underwriting and public fund asset management businesses. The SEC's Chicago office launched a formal investigation into Bear Stearns' municipal bond offering practices.

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