Macaskill on markets: FICC sales and trading stars bring baggage
Compensation could become a sore point if 2010 fails to turn into the FICC bonanza many bank heads seem to be expecting.
Jon Macaskill is one of the leading capital markets and derivatives journalists, with over 20 years’ experience covering financial markets from London and New York. Most recently he worked at one of the biggest global investment banks
To what extent does the success of a FICC franchise depend on its managers? It clearly does not hurt market leader Goldman Sachs that chief executive Lloyd Blankfeinand president Gary Cohnboth rose from a FICC background. Goldman has plenty of high-performing talent still embedded in FICC, often in the form of surprisingly young managers. Blankfein’s disclosed bonus and a firm-wide total payout of $21 billion or more will dominate headlines when Goldman announces full-year results in January. But FICC stars such as Ed Eisler and Ashok Varadhancan expect eye-popping bonuses that they will attempt to keep under the radar. Even if bonuses are closer to 40% of revenue than the old industry standard of 50%, there will still be about $10 billion of FICC compensation to share out. Eisler and Varadhan parlayed former jobs as swap traders then heads of rates in Europe and North America, respectively, into positions at the top of the Goldman tree while still in their 30s.