Morgan Stanley's freshly announced full year results were worse than anticipated. At $262k per head, average compensation is nearly 30% below Goldman Sachs and 53% down on last year. However, there's one area in which MS excels: redundancy pay.
Over the past 12 months, the bank says it spent $791m on severance payments. During this period, its headcount figures suggest it got rid of a mere 1,782 staff.
In reality, redundancies are likely to have been a lot higher - Morgan Stanley announced that it was cutting 10% of investment banking staff in November, at which time Bloomberg reported that it had already cut 4,400 staff.
Even allowing for 5,000 staff cuts in the past 12 months, Morgan Stanley paid an average $158k severance per head, far higher than the
$85k on offer at Goldman Sachs.
Equally interesting is the fact that despite announcing additional redundancies last month, Morgan Stanley appears to have gone ahead with John Mack's July plan to add staff in derivatives, risk management and proprietary trading: the bank employed 92 more people at the end of November than at the end of August.