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The industry is “making money, though with government help.”
Worldwide, a majority of market professionals in the survey also turn thumbs down on government attempts to limit compensation, with 51 percent saying restrictions will stifle useful innovation. Only about 38 percent think pay limits will control excessive risk-taking. In the U.S., where President Barack Obama has chided Wall Street for being “motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses,” 65 percent say the restrictions will damp innovation.
The findings “give some fuel to the people who claim that Wall Street hasn’t really gotten it,” said Mark Borges, a compensation consultant at Compensia Inc. in Corte Madera, California. “There really hasn’t been a dramatic cultural shift in these organizations.” The survey responses are at odds with populist outrage unleashed when American International Group Inc. earlier this year paid bonuses to the financial products unit responsible for the derivatives trades that fueled $100 billion in 2008 losses and led to a $182 billion taxpayer bailout. In an ABC News/Washington Post survey earlier this month, 71 percent backed the Obama administration’s plans to order deep cuts in executive pay at bailed-out companies.