Bad luck. If you've spent the past few years slaving away in a major investment bank, willing your deferred stock bonuses to rise in value, urging your boss to maintain your salary and sometimes fantasizing about possibly downsizing to a smallholding in Wales, you've missed out. All the while, a group of people from a lesser known firm has been amassing a small fortune in restricted stock and stock options and is now ready to cash-in. Big time.
The people in question work for Markit, the financial services information company. Markit is said to have hired Goldman Sachs to conduct an IPO which could see it valued at anything from $4bn-$5bn.
Markit declined to comment for this article - both on the rumoured IPO and on who stands to gain as result. The company is majority owned by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Bank of America. Private equity firm General Atlantic also owns a stake, along with Temasek, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund. However, some individuals are also likely to do very (very) well from Markit's listing.
The most recently filed results for Markit Group Holdings, covering the year ending December 2011, show that Markit has lavished restricted stock and options upon some of its (then) 2,400 employees. In the years between 2004 and 2011, Markit employees amassed 3.1m share options with vesting dates stretching until 2018. In 2011, an additional 191,907 restricted shares were expensed under a restricted share plan for Markit staff.
It's not clear from the results who at Markit received these shares and options. We spoke to one former vice president who worked at Markit for five years and who told us he had no knowledge of stock being issued to people there - suggesting the beneficiaries were mostly very senior staff. Among the Markit big-men, the major stock recipients will almost certainly have been the co-founders Lance Uggla - the chief executive, Rony Grushka - the CFO, and Kevin Gould - the president.
Before starting Markit in 2001, Grushka was a chartered accountant. Both Uggla and Gould worked for Canadian bank TD Securities, where Uggla was head of Europe and Asia and Gould was head of fixed income in Europe. LinkedIn suggests that Markit currently employs - and has employed in the past - a variety of other ex-TD Securities staff globally. These include Trevor Hill, the current head of organisational development, Shane Akeroyd the global head of sales, and Rajeev Syal, the global head of HR.
TD Securities isn't typically grouped in with the most prestigious bulge bracket banking firms. Quietly, therefore, a group of employees from a Canadian bank have spent the past 12 years building a very successful, very profitable business and now seem very ready to reap the rewards. On this basis, big name bankers who've spent the past decade safely ensconced in prestigious firms may have made a mistake.- Markit has been the place to be. The company is still hiring and expanding, but anyone who joins this close to the IPO is unlikely to make millions as a result.
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