Morgan Stanley pays James Gorman $35m in 2021

Morgan Stanley paid its chief executive James Gorman $35m for his work in 2021, up $2m from a year earlier and more than Wall Street rival Jamie Dimon.

The pay packet for Gorman is the latest example of Wall Street groups rewarding top bankers with pay increases following a year of bumper profits for the industry. In quarterly earnings last week, Morgan Stanley reported record revenues and pre-tax profits for 2021.

For the year, Gorman earned a base salary of $1.5m, an $8.375m cash bonus, $5.025m in a deferred equity award and a performance-based stock bonus worth $20.1m. 

“The compensation committee based its decision on its assessment of Mr Gorman’s outstanding individual performance and record firm financial performance, including meeting or exceeding its two-year objectives announced in January of 2021, and executing on the next phase of transformational growth and shareholder value,” the bank said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

Gorman owned just under 1.2m Morgan Stanley shares as of November, according to the most recent regulatory filing, which are worth about $117m based on the bank’s closing stock price on Friday.

Under Gorman, chief executive since 2010, Morgan Stanley has expanded into businesses such as asset and wealth management, bolstered by chunky acquisitions including ETrade and Eaton Vance, in an effort to diversify from its legacy investment banking and stock and bond trading divisions.

JPMorgan Chase said on Thursday it had lifted pay for Dimon, the bank’s chief executive since 2005, by $3m to $34.5m for 2021. This was the most he had earned since 2008 but was still not enough to reclaim his title as the top-paid big bank chief executive, which Gorman took for 2020.

In fourth-quarter earnings, five of Wall Street’s leading banks — JPMorgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America — disclosed they had handed out $142bn in total pay and benefits in 2021, up almost 15 per cent from the previous year.

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