| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Mellon pays bonuses after delaying annual raises

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Thomas Olson
Monday, March 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. paid about $460 million in annual bonuses to managers at the end of February — days after it told lower-paid workers their annual merit increases will be delayed.

The bonuses were paid two weeks after BNY Mellon said it lost a tax case that will carve $850 million out of its earnings this quarter, likely leading to its first quarterly loss in almost four years.

Based in New York, BNY Mellon employs about 49,500 worldwide, including about 7,600 in the Pittsburgh area, mostly Downtown.

The bank paid out more than 100 bonuses on Feb. 28, six days after rank-and-file workers received word that their pay raises, normally awarded in April, were put off until July, according to bank sources.

The range of bonuses and an exact number of recipients were not available.

“All the people who were bonus-eligible received their bonuses at the end of February,” said BNY Mellon spokesman Ronald Gruendl. He cautioned against calling them “executive bonuses” but would not say how many people received them, what the payments were based on or how amounts were determined, calling the information “proprietary.”

Gruendl confirmed annual pay increases for the rank-and-file would take effect in July but would not say why they would not be paid in April as they traditionally had been.

The head of an organization that studies corporate ethics questioned the timing of the bonuses.

“Compensation needs to be uniform up and down the organization,” said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware,

“Ideally, you should deal with every employee on the same basis,” he said. “And to maintain good morale, you have to give a good reason for these payments.”

He said companies sometimes are bound by contract to award bonuses.

The $460 million in bonus payments were made two weeks after the bank said it will book an $850 million expense in the January-March quarter because of a U.S. Tax Court ruling.

Given the heavy expenses, BNY Mellon is expected to post its first quarterly loss since the July-September 2009 quarter, when it lost $2.46 billion. The bank is scheduled to report financial results in mid-April.

Executive bonuses and taxes are among the expenses charged against earnings.

The bank is appealing the Feb. 11 tax ruling, which stemmed from an Internal Revenue Service challenge to BNY Mellon's claim of $199 million in foreign-tax credits in 2001 and 2002.

The tax credits relate to a transaction arranged by London-based Barclays Bank plc and accounting firm KPMG.

In addition, BNY Mellon continues to face lawsuits in several states that were brought in 2011 involving its foreign currency exchange business.

The lawsuits allege that BNY Mellon for 10 years traded foreign currency for clients at one price and charged them a different price based on daily highs and lows. The claimants, mainly pension funds, say they are owed a total of $2 billion.

The bank denies those claims and is to present arguments in federal court in New York this month for a dismissal of the case.

Thomas Olson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7854 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Thief’s attorney blames Rivers Casino; judge isn’t swayed
  2. School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
  3. Fugitive arrested at Plum motel on drug, gun charges
  4. Boy Scouts’ end to ban on gay leaders unnerves religious groups
  5. Man shot several times in Allentown neighborhood
  6. City, ex-manager of Pittsburgh police Office of Personnel and Finance reach settlement
  7. 2 firefighters injured in Millvale house fire
  8. Projects advance through Pittsburgh planning commission despite opposition
  9. W.Va. authorities charge 87 with drug trafficking
  10. ‘Turf battle’ blamed in fights that canceled Carrick church festival
  11. Pittsburgh-area employers benefit from Holy Family Academy mentoring program