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US pay czar to review CEO compensation at 419 firms

March 23, 2010 18:32 IST

The United States government appointed pay czar will review the executive compensation packages at 419 bailed out companies including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase.

The Treasury Department's special master for compensation Kenneth Feinberg, would send a letter seeking compensation data for as many as top 25 executives at each of the 419 firms that received Federal bailout funds, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Quoting government officials, the report said that Feinberg would review executive pay practices at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and 416 other firms, "to determine if compensation paid during the height of the financial crisis should be returned."

In the wake of the financial meltdown, these entities had received taxpayers' money under the Troubled Asset Relief Programme.

"Feinberg's letter will instruct firms to submit data for any of those top 25 officials whose annual compensation totals more than $500,000," the daily said.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Feinberg is also expected to issue his 2010 pay determinations for the firms he primarily oversees, including American International Group and General Motors.

"The inquiry marks the first time the government will look into pay at a broad swath of firms that took government bailout funds," the publication said.

The pay czar's main mandate has been to review and set compensation at seven firms receiving large sums of government aid, such as AIG, GM and Citigroup.

"Other firms that took TARP funds have been subject to compensation restrictions but haven't been subject to a government review," the report added.

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