Investors of all hues and economic standing across the world have continued to count their losses in the aftermath of the sudden turn of booming and upward trending stock markets activities to snarling bearish enclaves of continuous falling stock prices across the world. Small to medium size investors, in Nigeria, especially, have been so scared that some, in frustration had sworn not to have anything to do with the stock market again.

However, the emerging scenario, when a comparative analysis is done, of losses recorded by investors across economic standing reveals that the global stock market crash would seems to have made mince meat of the very high priests of stock market investment. The men that have made billions of dollars playing the stock market have by recent calculations of their wealth positions have been reduced to near paupers. Some of these are reviewed here.

E STANLEY O’NEAL is the former Chief Executive Officer of Merril Lynch, one of the loudest investment banking firm on Wall Street, before it was consumed by the five months old global market meltdown, Merril Lynch was celebrated across national economic capitals for its outstanding investment maneuvers. The swan song has, however, been rendered for Merril Lynch, it has gone under, so had the wealth of its former CEO O’Neal who net worth in January 2007 was $127.7 million. As of two weeks ago, the wealth rating of O’Neal had been reduced to an abysmal $40.2 million.

RICHARD S FULD went down with Lehman Brothers an investment banking institution in the United States of America that captured the imagination of Wall Street and the investment communities of Europe with its exotic investment packages. When the market was up and running, Lehman Brothers was in the top five bracket of players just as when the market took a plunge, it was one of the first four to capitulate and so did Fuld’s net worth which raced down from $827.1 million in January last year to a bankrupt $2.3 million

MAURICE R. GREENBERG had retired from the American International Group, the expansive all purpose United States of America’s insurance behemoth that was mainly responsible for providing the insurance arm of the sub-prime investment corridor. Greenberg was worth $1.25 billion in January 2007 but with the cascading of the sub-prime reversed pyramid, Greenberg as of Friday 24 October, 2008 was worth a meager $49.6 million 

CHARLES O PRINCE III was Chief Executive Officer of the much respected Citigroup. Though Citiigroup still thrives during this tumultuous financial market period, Prince III’s net worth standing is, indeed, in turmoil. Rated to be worth $89 million in January 2007, his investment position is calculated to have been slashed by more than 60 per cent to $33.2 million.

 MARTIN J SULLIVAN had also administered the American International Group as its Chief Executive Officer and was worth $3.2 million in January 2007. The financial market meltdown has removed Sullivan from the list of millionaires to the large rank of “thousandnaires” with a calculated net worth of $173 thousand

HENRY M. PAULSON JR is the current United States of America’s Treasury Secretary, the equivalent of a finance minister. He was at a time the Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs an investment and financial firm respected for its strategic investment capabilities based on incisive and what experts call pinpoint research and analytical competence. Despite all these attributions, Paulson lost $286 million dollars to the melt down. With net worth ranking at $809.5 million in January 2007, by 24 October, 2008, Paulson is calculated to be worth $523.5 million.

JAMES E CAYNE was, some years ago, in various investment and financial markets publication described as the postal boy of investment in America. Bear Stern, the investment bank where he was Chief Executive was known for its daring and ambition in the investment world. During the days when Bear Stearn bided and acquired companies just to straighten them out to resell at gain in a short period, Cayne’s financial standing was rated at $1.06 billion but now, his net worth had broken all the downside barriers to stand $61.2 million.     

LLOYD C BLANKFEIN is the Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, in fact, first raised the first alarm over the precarious state of the Nigerian stock exchange. Goldman Sachs had predicted earlier in the year that the Nigerian stock market would have to take an inevitable plunge to correct itself because Goldman Sachs research returned the verdict that the market was over valued. It would, however, seem that Goldman Sachs was only preoccupied with the Nigerian market to the detriment of the American markets. Blankfein’s investment portfolio is calculated to be worth $291 million down from $405.6 million in January 2007. 

VIKRAN S PANDIT is the Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup, in December 2007 he was calculated be worth $31.7 million but by October 24 2008, his net worth had plummeted to $22.6million

KENNETH D LEWIS is the Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of America and is rated as one of the savviest investors on Wall Street, yet his portfolio changed value from $153.7 million in January 2007 to $111.6 million in October 2008.

RICHARD F SYRON had much of his investment tied to the Freddie Mac one of the two biggest mortgage operators in the United States of America. Freddie Mac is now history, swept away by the whirlwind of the tempestuous financial storm. So also has the fortune of Syron which is calculated at a lowly $130,000 in October 2008 from it January 2007 standing of $10.6 million.

JOHN J. MAC is the Chief Executive of Morgan Stanley another storied investment banking institution with influence across the global investment sector. Mac’s net worth has plunged by more than 50 percent from $224.6 million in January 2007 to $80.4 million in October 2008.

JOHN A. THAIN Chief Executive Officer of Merril Lynch is calculated to have lost $12.5 million between December 2007 and October 2008 when the value of his investment portfolio fell from $28.5 million to $16 million.

DANIEL H. MUDD former CEO of Fannie Mae’s fall in investment portfolio symbolizes the extent of the global melt down and its impact on individual investment portfolio. Mudd’s investment stands at a pauper’s $476,000 in October 2008 compared to his $26.5million in January 2007.

SANFORD I. WEILL, former Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup’s investment worth is down from $914.9 million to $342 million.

No curbs on Wall Street workers big pay despite meltdown

Now, can we do a snap shot on the foreign scene as the financial meltdown is still melting (that can describe ill temper of the international financial and stock market)

News has it that despite the Wall Street meltdown, United States of America’s biggest banks are preparing to pay their workers as much as last year or more, including bonuses tied to personal and company performance.

So far this year, nine of the largest U.S. banks, including some that have cut thousands of jobs, have seen total costs for salaries, benefits and bonuses grow by an average of three per cent from a year ago, according to an Associated Press review.

“Taxpayers have lost their life savings, and now they are being asked to bail out corporations,” New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said of the AP findings. “It’s adding insult to injury to continue to pay outsized bonuses and exorbitant compensation.”

Banks will decide what to pay out in bonuses in the coming months. Just because they’ve been accruing money for incentive pay doesn’t mean they will pay it out in full.

That there is a rise in pay, or at least not a pronounced dropoff, from 2007 is surprising because many of the same companies were doing some of their best business ever, at least in the first half of last year. In 2008, each quarter has been weaker than the last.

“There are, of course, expectations that the payouts should be going down,” David Schmidt, a senior compensation consultant at James F. Reda & Associates. “But we haven’t seen that show up yet.”

Some banks are setting aside large amounts. At Citigroup, which has cut 23,000 jobs this year amid the crisis, pay expenses for the first nine months of this year came to $25.9 billion, four per cent more than the same period last year.

Even if you subtract what the bank has shelled out in severance pay and other costs related to the job cuts, overall pay is only slightly lower this year.

Typically, about 60 per cent of Wall Street pay goes to salary and benefits, while about 40 per cent goes to end-of-the-year cash and stock bonuses that hinge on performance, both for the individual and the company, said Brad Hintz, a securities industry analyst at Sanford Bernstein and a former chief financial officer at Lehman Brothers.

“The fundamental goal of the compensation plan is to allow an employee to get wealthy,” Hintz said. He also pointed out that the workers’ pay is supposed to be “exposed to the risk of the parent company.”

This should be the year where that structure is tested. The financial crisis, brought about by mountains of bad mortgage-related assets, caused banks to falter or fail and lending to dry up and prompted Congress to pass a $700 billion bailout package. As part of that, government is pouring $125 billion through stock purchases into the nine large financial companies cited in AP’s review of compensation.

Besides Citigroup, those include Bank of New York Mellon, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley (MS), JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), and State Street. Another $125 billion will be made available to other banks.

Those taking cash from Uncle Sam must follow guidelines limiting executive pay, including a ban on golden parachutes for departing executives. No restrictions are placed on across-the-board pay.

In total, those nine banks had pay-related costs of $108 billion for the first three quarters of the year. The average increase came to three per cent, according to AP figures.