Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Stock Bonuses Soar, as Does Giving

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Stock Bonuses Soar, as Does Giving

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street's wheelers and dealers will receive a record $13 billion in bonuses this year. But most of them won't be bragging too loudly about that new Rolex or their African safari.

Apparently trying to live down their "greed is good" reputation from the swashbuckling 1980s, brokers and traders seem to be much more discreet these days.

"The younger bankers and brokers are clearly making more money than they've ever earned before, so they're spending freely. But they're not bragging about it," said Alan Ackerman, senior vice president at Fahnestock & Co. and a 40-year Wall Street veteran.

Without a doubt, people are still taking expensive time share rentals on Long Island's Hamptons, and a fur coat can occasionally be spotted on a 20-something trader walking down Wall Street. But that's a far cry from a decade ago, when Wall Street's "Masters of the Universe" collected BMWs and snorted cocaine with rolled-up $100 bills.

In fact, some Wall Street firms have specific policies prohibiting the flaunting of wealth. Two years ago, Philip Potter, a 25-year-old Morgan Stanley analyst, found out the hard way. He was fired a day after being quoted in The New York Times bragging about his new 50-inch TV and $3,500 Rolex.

Since the crash of October 1987, the U.S. stock markets have been on a dizzying climb, fueled by a booming economy. The 12-year bull market is about to set a record for the longest such run in U.S. history.

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the technology focused Nasdaq Composite index passed psychologically important milestones of 10,000 and 3,000, respectively, earlier this year, and both continue to trade near record levels.

So it's little wonder that Wall Street's investment banking firms expect to report record profits of nearly $13 billion in 1999, after paying out $13 billion in bonuses -- an 18 percent increase over last year, according to both the Securities Industry Association, a trade organization, and the New York City Comptroller's office. …

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