Lazard may have missed its fourth quarter estimates, but employees will probably be happy with the compensation decisions at the boutique investment bank.
While many firms are deferring pay by giving bankers much of their 2011 bonus in 2012 and 2013, Lazard decided to pay employees most of their bonuses straight away this year, deferring only 23.5% of pay for future years.
"We are very comfortable with our approach on deferrals at the firm and we didn't need to increase it," Chief Executive Kenneth Jacobs told Reuters. "There's just no free lunch there."
Of course, it's worth mentioning that the bonus pool decreased 20% for 2011.
Lazard has been aiming to lower its compensation ratio, or the ratio of compensation paid out as a percentage ofrevenue, to the high-50% range, but it missed that goal for last quarter. Its compensation ratio was 63.9%, up from 62.7% in 2010. For comparison, Morgan Stanley's comp ratio is 50.6% and Goldman Sachs' is 42.4% for 2011.
On a conference call after earnings, Jacobs said: "Our view in regards to hiring has always been: you do it when people aren't."
Capturing Market Share (Reuters)
Smaller firms are leaping at the opportunity to pick up displaced talent from bigger banks, especially in the City in London.
A Different View (Mergers & Inquisitions)
If you want to be an investment banker covering financial institutions, get ready to learn how to cause a financial crisis.
Networking Properly (Swiss-Miss)
When making an e-introduction for someone, make sure the people know beforehand you're going to set them up. It's common courtesy to keep them in the loop.
Back to Earth (NYMag)
Bonuses and headcount have been chopped enough to warrant a new look at former masters of the universe, one journalist writes. Those masters may be forced to come down from their perch.
The Poet Statesman (The Rumpus)
If you've ever measured your life out in coffee spoons, it's worth keeping in mind that the architect of such a phrase, one T.S. Eliot, was also a banker for several years. Poetry and finance can coexist!
Image Booster (Deal Journal)
Lloyd Blankfein has a new cause to shill for: gay marriage. He's featured in a new campaign that hopes to achieve marriage equality for all. Probably one of the better PR moves his team has orchestrated in awhile.
Buzz Around the Office
Hiya, 1, 2!
List of the Day: A Second Chance
If you blew an interview but are convinced you're right for the job, you've got nothing to lose with these tactics.
1. Write an email to the recruiter explaining how you stumbled.
2. If there was an outside reason why you were off, like a family death, inform the company about the situation.
3. If they're not interested, go take a course in an area you may feel weak in, and follow up afterward.