Steven Malanga: Are the Good Times Really Back On Wall Street?


Your 401(k) balance might be stuck somewhere south of the border and the stock market might still be off 40 percent from the post-bubble high, but in recent days the headlines have been about big profits and bonuses making a quick comeback on Wall Street and in European financial capitals.

Based on financials from two quarters, analysts estimate that Goldman Sachs, fresh from repaying its government bailout money, will dole out $20 billion in salary and bonuses this year, an average of $700,000 per employee, while Morgan Stanley’s compensation will range between $11 billion and $14 billion–in the neighborhood of $300,000 per employee. Executive recruiters quoted in news stories are claiming ‘it’s like 2007 all over again’ as firms dangle big upfront pay packages to lure top talent into the fold, or to keep it from going elsewhere.

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