A report by CNBC that even as Merrill Lynch was suffering massive losses and laying off staff, its CEO Mr John A Thain spent US$1.2 million to decorate his office. He paid his driver US$230,000 for one year's work which is twice what drivers of top executives are usually paid. He paid US$1,400 for a waste-paper basket, US$87,784 for a pair of guest chairs and a list of other big ticket items. I wonder how much kick back he got in return.
Despite the flood of red ink, Merrill rushed to pay - a month early - US$3 billion to US$4 billion in annual bonuses to its employees just three days before merger with Bank of America closed on January 1. It's done before BoA could do anything to prevent it and just before about US$15 billion in losses materialised from Merill's portfolio.
The money pumped in by the FED has not helped the economy by encouraging loans, but has kept the bankers in champagne and caviar. How foolish are the shareholders among them the Singapore government who invested our reserves in the various banks for the super long term? I do not know how much our government have lost so far investing in the various banks, but I definitely feel the pain of our government being con big time into giving them a helping hand.