Morgan Stanley, the come-from-behind champion of 2010 league tables, was one of the few bulge-bracket banks to swell both ranks and pay last year.
The firm added 2,048 workers, a 3.4% increase, while setting aside an additional $1.6 billion, or 11%, to pay its staff, according to its earnings release this morning.
The average Morgan Stanley employee took home $256,596, up 7.5% from $238,602 in 2009. The bank was more generous than analysts had expected. Rivals Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan trimmed per-worker pay in 2010.
But Morgan Stanley withheld a greater proportion of pay from its staff. It increased the share of bonuses that must be deferred to 60% from 40% in 2009. Senior executives will have 80% of year-end payouts deferred, up from 75%.
The company beat analyst estimates in the fourth-quarter, posting $867 million in profit, nearly double results in the year-earlier period. The financials got a big bump from the company's sale of a stake in a Chinese investment bank.
Though its trading revenue slumped substantially in the final three months of the year, nearly all of the firm's lines of business reported healthy sales gains in 2010. For the full-year, Morgan Stanley revenue shot up 35% to $31.6 billion, as the firm led advisory work on some of the biggest deals of the year, including state-backed sales of GM, Citigroup and Petroleo Brasileiro SA.
The swelling compensation coffers, combined with new i-banking bragging rights, will no doubt increase Morgan Stanley's recruiting clout on Wall Street.
Write to Kyle Stock
Related: JPMorgan Grows Staff, Shrinks Pay | Citi Slims, Comp Stays Steady | Goldman's Profit and Pay Slide | Wells Fargo Hires More, Pays More