Lazard Ltd, formerly known as Lazard Frères, gave away the “store” in bonuses to its employees to the tune of $565,000 per person. Lazard, unlike Goldman “Sacks” and other Wall St. investment agencies, did not receive any bail out money.
The firm doled out $616 million in compensation and benefits to about 2,300 employees last quarter, or more than triple the amount handed out in the same period in 2008. It was a consequence, Lazard said, of a decision to pay more bonuses in cash and accelerate some deferred cash awards from a prior year. But so great was the firm’s generosity that compensation costs overwhelmed quarterly revenues and resulted in a net loss of about $55 million for the fourth quarter. The charges also almost wiped out full-year profits.