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Morgan Stanley CEO takes a 30% pay cut

January 24, 2013: 5:50 PM ET

James Gorman gets the lowest pay of the 2012 Wall Street CEO packages revealed so far, making less than a third of what Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein makes.

James Gorman

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman

FORTUNE - Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman is now a $6 million man. On Wall Street, that size check ain't considered bionic.

According to people familiar with the firm's plans, Morgan Stanley's board decided to cut Gorman's total compensation for 2012 by 30% from the year before. It was the second year in a row Gorman received a pay cut. He made $14 million in 2010. Overall, compensation at Morgan Stanley fell 4% to an average pay of nearly $274,000 per employee.

On top of a base salary of $800,000, Morgan Stanley (MS) will pay Gorman a $2.6 million differed cash bonus. He will also get a stock award of $2.6 million for the year. Like Gorman, none of Morgan Stanley's top executives will receive immediate cash bonuses.

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Morgan Stanley, like other financial firms, reveals options grants in regulatory filings, but does not officially disclose the full compensation of its top executives for the prior year until it files its proxy statement, which usually happens in April. A spokesperson for Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Nonetheless, the pay figures for a number of Wall Street's top executives have started to leak out. Gorman's pay is the lowest so far. Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein is expected to have made $21 million for 2012, a 75% pay increase from the year before. James Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase (JPM), had his pay cut 50% to $11.5 million after the board said he was partly to blame for the firm's $6 billion trading loss in credit derivatives for the year.

The pay cut comes as another blow for Gorman, who has been working to put Morgan Stanley on more sound footing after the firm was nearly wiped out by the financial crisis. Gorman has greatly expanded the firm's asset management operations with the acquisition of Citigroup's Salomon Smith Barney brokerage division. But the acquisition has yet to pay dividends. Morgan Stanley's return on equity, a key measure of a bank's profitability, remains much lower than rivals. And activist shareholder Dan Loeb, who recently took a stake in Morgan Stanley, said he believes compensation is still too high at the firm.

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Nonetheless, Morgan Stanley recently showed signs that the firm was turning the corner. In the last three months of 2012, the firm earned $900 million, after one-time charges and other adjustments. That was up from a loss of $400 million in the same period a year before. Investors cheered the better-than-expected earnings, pushing the stock up more than 5% on the day of the earnings announcement.

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About This Author
Stephen Gandel
Stephen Gandel

Stephen Gandel has covered Wall Street and investing for over 15 years. He joins Fortune from sister publication TIME, where he was a senior business writer and lead blogger for The Curious Capitalist. He has also held positions at Money and Crain's New York Business. Stephen is a four-time winner of the Henry R. Luce Award. His work has also been recognized by the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the New York State Society of CPA and the Association of Area Business Publications. He is a graduate of Washington University, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

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