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Executive compensation

Executive compensation refers to an employee’s total pay package, which can include base salary, bonuses, company shares, and other financial benefits. Compensation packages are generally used as a tool for attracting and retaining talent, as well as for rewarding performance. Executive compensation practices came under great scrutiny as Americans struggled in the economic downturn and were angered by what they saw as a Wall Street pay culture that rewarded the excessive risk-taking that caused the recession. Financial firms that were recipients of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) passed in 2008 were particularly heavily criticized. Since 2008, several new legislative and regulatory proposals have been announced to reform compensation practices in the financial services industry. Many financial institutions proactively made significant changes to their compensation policies and practices to better align pay with long-term performance and effective risk management. It is also widely expected that compensation levels will decrease as a reflection of the current, difficult economic environment.

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