BUSINESS
10/28/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Top Wall Street Executives Made More Than $3 Billion Before Financial Crisis

Wall Street's five biggest firms paid more than $3 billion in the last five years to their top executives, while they presided over the packaging and sale of loans that helped bring down the investment-banking system.

Merrill Lynch & Co. paid its chief executives the most, with Stanley O'Neal taking in $172 million from 2003 to 2007 and John Thain getting $86 million, including a signing bonus, after beginning work in December. The company agreed to be acquired by Bank of America Corp. for about $50 billion on Sept. 15. Bear Stearns Cos.'s James ``Jimmy'' Cayne made $161 million before the company collapsed and was sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co. in June.

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