Wall Street's top chief executives received their largest pay packages since 2000 after the five biggest independent securities firms posted record profits last year and handed out more restricted stock, filings show.
Merrill Lynch & Co.'s Stanley O'Neal was the best-paid for a second year, pulling in $32 million. Almost all of that came in restricted stock. Morgan Stanley's Philip Purcell, 61, got the biggest raise, a 45% jump to $22.5 million. But James Cayne of Bear Stearns Cos. saw his pay fall 8.5%, excluding earnings from deferred compensation.
O'Neal, Cayne and Purcell, along with Henry Paulson of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Richard Fuld of Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc., each have earned more than $100 million in five years -- more than their counterparts at the largest industrial companies.
Goldman and Merrill paid out more restricted stock in 2004 as regulators prepared to force U.S. companies to account for stock options as an expense starting in June.
Restricted stock made up an average of 67% of the five chiefs' pay, up from 48% in 2003.
The five firms earned a combined $17.2 billion last year. Earnings are forecast to rise 4% to $17.9 billion in 2005, led by Morgan Stanley, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.