Study of the earnings of the wealthiest operators on Wall Street have confirmed Stephen Schwarzman still stands on top. Schwarzman, chief executive at the Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) was confirmed to have taken home around $139.5 million in 2011. Schwarzman continues his run at the top having also secured the title in 2010. The figures come from four private equity firms that have already gone public, like Blackstone, and those that hope to do so like the Carlyle Group. That firm filed to go Public in 2011. It’s top executive David Rubenstein came in second just below Schwarzman with a total of $137.8 million. In third place was Leon Black of Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO) who took home $104.2 million well behind the top earners. The top four was rounded off by Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts whose pay was listed as $93.1 million.
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The executives pay was made up of several categories including basic salary, bonus, carried interest, distributions and other compensation. By far the biggest earner for Mr. Schwarzman was distributions from holdings in the firm’s ownership units which netted him $134.5 million. His salary was only $350,000 and he received no bonus for the year. Rubenstein received the highest salary of $3.8 million with the other executives all taking home far less than a million in their basic pay. The earnings were subsidized by the executives own investment with the company’s funds which were also released. For Mr. Schwarzman those added up to an additional $74 million. The total figure for Schwarzman’s earnings from Blackstone then are brought up to a cool 213.5 million. Kravis and Black did not have any personal investments with their companies on their filings leaving them far behind second place Rubenstein whose total was $200.3 million.
The earnings released by the top executives on Wall Street have come under dense scrutiny in recent years by the media, politicians and protest groups. Since the financial crisis of 2008 whose occurrence was largely blamed on Wall Street interest into the larger sums earned by executives has grown. This year the gaze may be fixed firmer with Mitt Romney, founder of private equity firm Bain Capital, a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination in the media spot light. Protest groups, the most visible being the Occupy Wall Street Movement, have berated firms for their high earnings demanding a more equitable distribution of wealth in the country. One has to believe that Mr. Schwarzman doesn’t agree.