Getting at least a sliver of the pie

Thu Jun 1, 2006



Registration filings show

few are spreading the wealth

When a rumor spread in mid-May that three employees had spun out of $7.5 billion Amaranth Advisors due to dissatisfaction with the firm's compensation scheme, the firm took the unusual step of issuing a special letter to investors to debunk the claims. The gossip was that Amaranth had alienated these employees by failing to share equity, and investors had been calling to learn the truth.

In the firm's letter, managing director Steven Johnson noted that the firm had granted ownership interests to "a number of" senior employees in 2005, and that "more than 80% of the firm's 2005 performance fees were distributed and were not retained by the firm's founder" (the firm's emphasis).

As the Amaranth case illustrates, managers are eager to tout their equity sharing arrangements, and apparently quick to respond if an egalitarian compensation scheme is called into question....

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