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Deferred cash compensation: enhancing stability in the financial services industry


  • Hamid Mehran
  • Joseph Tracy


Employees in financial firms are compensated for creating value for the firm, but firms themselves also serve a public interest. This tension can lead to issues that could impose a significant risk to the firm and the public. The authors describe three channels through which deferred cash compensation can mitigate such risk: by promoting a conservative approach to risk, by inducing internal monitoring, and by creating a liquidity buffer. Ultimately, the net contribution of deferred cash pay to financial stability is the sum of the effects of the three channels. The authors argue that a deferred cash program can be designed to limit interference with labor mobility. Further, they underscore that such a scheme for banks is not punitive, particularly in a world of no bailouts. They offer a baseline conservative estimate for the size of the buffer for the largest U.S. banks. Finally, they discuss the potential effects of deferred cash pay on information production and sharing with regulators, and the intersection of deferred cash and enforcement.

Suggested Citation

  • Hamid Mehran & Joseph Tracy, 2016. "Deferred cash compensation: enhancing stability in the financial services industry," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aug, pages 61-75.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednep:00031

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    Cited by:

    1. Jiang, Wei & Liu, Yunguo & Lobo, Gerald J. & Xu, Yue, 2019. "Deferred cash compensation and risk-taking: Evidence from the Chinese banking industry," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 432-448.
    2. Shen, Carl Hsin-han & Zhang, Hao, 2020. "What's good for you is good for me: The effect of CEO inside debt on the cost of equity," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).

    More about this item


    internal monitoring; deferred cash compensation; financial stability; performance bonds;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods


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