Saturday, December 09, 2006

Big Investment Houses Already Hit Record Profits

The top five investment firms in America broke their previous earnings record with a quarter to spare.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos. have earned a combined $21.3 billion in the first nine months of the year. This surpasses the full-year record of $20.4 billion set in 2005.

Not mentioned are the private investment houses who buy companies with the intent of reselling or conducting an independent public offering (IPO) at a later date. The famously politically connected Carlyle Group fits in this category. They set a different record earlier this year when they announced they now manage $44.3 billion in assets on behalf of their wealthy investors.

Big money for the companies turns into huge bonuses for executives.

Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest U.S. securities firm, said during the week it will pay Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Fuld an extra $186 million during the next 10 years. There has also been talk on Wall Street that 50 executives at Goldman Sachs might receive $25 million each as a bonus, though the company would not comment.

"The fact there's a rumor out there about this shows you what kind of a year it has been," an investment banking analyst said.

What kind of year have you had?

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