WealthManagement Magazine

Merrill Awards O’Neal $20.2 Million in Stock

Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O’Neal was once again among the highest paid Wall Street executives in 2005. As the head of the world’s largest securities firm, he took home $20.2 million in stock last year.

Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O’Neal was once again among the highest paid Wall Street executives in 2005. As the head of the world’s largest securities firm, he took home $20.2 million in stock last year.

Merrill awarded O’Neal 280,167 restricted shares, according to a Jan. 25 regulatory filing with the SEC. The restricted shares vest 25 percent per year over the next four years, according to Merrill spokesman Bill Haldin. In a series of other Form 4 filings, Merrill also upped stock awards for O’Neal’s seven top lieutenants, bringing the total stock compensation for the firm’s upper management to $86.7 million (based on the closing price of $72.50 on the day they were issued). O’Neal’s stock compensation was less than it was a year ago when he received 555,057 shares valued at $31.3 million.

“This is definitely part of a long-term compensation plan,” says Jonathan Moreland, director of research and publisher of InsiderInsights, a weekly publication that analyzes insider-trading activity. “It’s not uncommon.”

Merrill will disclose any additional compensation in cash, stock options or benefits in its annual proxy statement in March. The proxy statement is expected to show that O’Neal is the highest paid executive on the Street for a third year in a row.

O’Neal, who was named CEO of Merrill in July 2001, guided the firm to record earnings of $5.22 billion in 2005, up 18 percent from 2004. Robert McCann, the head of Merrill’s retail brokerage operation, grabbed $9 million in shares. Under McCann’s leadership, the private client group posted a 20.2 percent profit margin in 2005, up from 19.1 percent in 2004. McCann’s unit also showed a record 14 percent growth rate in fee-based revenue, and the average financial advisor generated $734, 744 in production, up from $711,071 a year ago.

Elsewhere, Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson, 59, got $37 million in shares and stock options for the fiscal year that ended in November, the most disclosed so far by a U.S. securities firm, according to Bloomberg. Lehman Brothers chief Richard Fuld, 59, received $14.9 million in stock and 350,000 options.

Merrill Executive Stock Compensation Scorecard

Name Title Shares Awarded *Value
Stanley O’Neal President, CEO and Chairman 280,167 $20.6M
Kim Dow President, Global Markets & Investment Banking 205,271 $15.1M
Gregory Fleming President, Global Markets & Investment Banking 163,662 $12M
Ahmass Fakahany Vice Chairman, Chief Administrative Officer 157,019 $11.5M
Robert McCann President, Global Private Client Group 122,053 $9M
Jeffrey Edwards CFO 86,112 $6.3M
Robert Doll President, CIO of MLIM 83,935 $6.2M
Rosemary Berkery General Counsel 80,444 $5.9M
Laurence Tosi Finance Director 23,882 $1.8



Source: SEC and Registered Rep.
*(Value based on yesterday’s closing price of $73.37)

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