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AIG executives' promises to return bonuses have gone largely unfulfilled
One former Financial Products executive said some of his colleagues had stayed with the company only because they expected to receive bonus payments this coming March. After that, he said, they will have "no reason at all" to stay. "There's no more carrot," he said.
A resolution to the bonus controversy has been bedeviled by a growing lack of trust between AIG employees and the government.
Financial Products employees say they were on the brink of an agreement earlier this year that would reduce the total amount of money due in 2010 and spread those payments out over time to avoid the scrutiny that would come with a large, lump-sum payment. But they claim Feinberg scrapped that plan after he was appointed in June and urged AIG to find a way to significantly scale back the upcoming bonus payments.
People familiar with recent discussions between Feinberg and executives at AIG, including face-to-face talks with chief executive Robert H. Benmosche, said Feinberg has insisted that Financial Products employees return the money they said they would before he signs off on any deal involving 2010 compensation.
"Feinberg is adamant those pledges be honored," said one of the people. "It's non-negotiable."
They also said he has continued to urge that the amount of money due in March 2010 be reduced.
"I don't know how they resolve it now. There's no trust there," said one Financial Products executive, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the payments. "In order to negotiate, there has to be good faith and trust, and the government has shown those two things don't exist with them."
AIG declined to provide official comment, but company officials have previously argued that it is essential to keep employees at Financial Products. While the most disastrous and risky deals have been purged from the books, AIG officials say a mass exodus of employees from the division could still wreak havoc and end up harming the government's nearly 80 percent stake in the company.
AIG said in an October statement that it was working through various compensation issues with Feinberg, "including future payments to employees of AIG Financial Products." The company noted that Financial Products employees "have until the end of the year to fulfill their commitments to return a portion of their March 2009 payment. We expect FP employees will honor their commitments."