Sunday, March 16, 2008

More Lucky Duckies


Many well-known investors, from billionaire Joe Lewis to Bruce Sherman, the head of Legg Mason Inc.'s Private Capital Management Inc. money-management firm, have seen the value of their stakes in Bear Stearns plummet. The pain could be most acute for Bear Stearns's employees, who are steeped in a culture of personal ownership -- and hold about a third of the firm's shares outstanding.

Bear has over 14,000 employees.


Perhaps moreso than any other major investment securities firm, Bear promoted a culture of circled wagons, an us-against-the world camaraderie. As part of that effort, the investment bank paid a significant portion of its employees’ compensation in stock. On its Web site, Bear says that its employees own about one-third of the firm. That translates into about a $5.23 billion loss on paper for Bear’s employees over the last year, as the firm’s stock plunged 79.4 percent.

While presumably not evenly distributed across employees, that amounts to about $375K per employee.