Instead of taking them on a vacation, as they normally do, Citigroup this year gave the highest-performing traders in their one profitable unit each gift cards worth between $1,000 and $3,000. Cue the populist outrage!
These people are outrageous," said compensation consultant Jim Reda. "It's an unnecessary expense that really doesn't do much besides cost money," he said, referring to the fact that the cards can be spent at will.
Actually, it does two things other than cost money.
First, it's the kind of nice gesture that might help the company retain some of their best employees, the kind of people who will maybe, just possibly, keep the bank from collapsing into the arms of the taxpayer completely. Second, depositing this cash into young soft hands actually helps the taxpayers and the economy at large, because chances are, it will spur the exact kind of consumer spending that we need right now. So, overall, we think that this was actually kind of smart of Citigroup. Imagine that.
BACK-DOOR BONUS [NYP]