eFC Briefing: Paying Up Front

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Bank of America is set to raise salaries to help offset falling bonuses. Canadian regulators study how compensation practices affect risk.

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Bank of America, which has received $45 billion in government aid, plans to give some investment bankers raises of as much as 70 percent as soon as this month, Bloomberg News says. Total compensation reportedly would not rise, but base salaries would account for a greater share and bonuses a smaller part. The adjustments are designed in part to align the salaries of BofA and Merrill Lynch workers, Bloomberg says. Compensation for traders and others outside the investment bank may also be adjusted.

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Mindful of controversy surrounding the pay of Wall Street bankers, regulators in Canada are examining whether compensation practices at financial firms there are encouraging excessive risk taking. Jean Paul Duval, spokesman for the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, took pains to point out the review won't necessarily lead to mandated pay cuts. "There is general agreement regarding this whole issue that boards of directors are responsible for their compensation policies and monitoring their effectiveness," Duval tells eFinancialCareers News.

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Amid swelling layoffs, companies' willingness to negotiate severance details has dropped due to fears of creating inequalities among classes of employees and the necessity to hoard cash. However, even if cash is off the table, other items can and should be part of severance negotiations, attorneys say.

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An interesting and vaguely reassuring note from Robert Half Management Resources: Extended job searches don't look so bad to prospective employers, at least for senior managers.

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Also noted:

Standard Chartered to Hire More Staff as Competitors Retrench [Bloomberg]

Hedge talent for hire but few can recruit [Reuters]

How Banks Could Challenge New Bonus Pay Rules [Deal Journal]

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