Since 2008, the public and the government have taken a very stern stance against the high salaries of Wall Street executives and in most cases the government’s regulation efforts combined with uncertain markets have caused payment to CEOs to fall. However, this is not the case for asset management firms such as Franklin Resources (BEN), T. Rowe Price Group (TROW), BNY Mellon (BK), and more. All of the groups above and more have been benefiting from incentive pay rather than just bonuses.
Asset management is a big industry that has diverse options. Blackrock is considered the industry leader in the realm of asset management; however they operate just like an investment bank which could be why the CEO saw his overall payment fall. The CEO of Janus Capital Group also saw his payment fall but they received a very lucrative payment package back in 2010.
Federated Investors, Franklin Resources and T. Rowe Price are better suited for volatility because they offer incentive payment not bonuses on the scale of other firms; also they do not operate like investment banks which also helps them stay above the volatility. These three firms make most of their money buy managing mutual funds whose fees have stayed steady over the years while investors in those funds have stabilized considerably.
At T. Rowe Price, CEO James A.C. Kennedy, saw an 11% increase in his overall compensation last
year to $7.9 million from $7.1 million in 2010. His overall salary stayed the same at $350,000 but larger stock options and incentive payment saw a large increase.
Franklin Resources CEO, Gregory E. Johnson, saw a nice 47% increase in his payment from 2010 to $9.9 million. The CEO’s incentive bonus stayed the same at $2.65 million but stock awards jumped to $6.35 million from $2.6 million. The firm cited its 33% rise in profit as the reason for the large increased payment for CEO Johnson.
Those are great numbers for the asset managers group, especially when you compare it to big banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein saw the first fall in his stock bonus since 2008. However, his salary stayed the same at $2 million. Morgan Stanley CEO, James Gorman saw overall payment fall 25% last year but Morgan Stanley has not released any specific numbers.
Asset management firms are living well right now. They have not been hurt as badly by regulation and they do not receive as much scrutiny about payment because they call their bonuses “incentive based payment” which sounds more like it was earned. Regardless, these firms will continue to benefit while the market is volatile and government steps up regulation.