Charity Begins at the Office

Bloomberg Business News

Charity begins at home, so the saying goes.

Not at Bear Stearns Cos., the nation's seventh-largest securities firm. Bear Stearns has a policy requiring its top 130 employees, called senior managing directors, to give at least 4% of their compensation to charity each year.

In good years, such as fiscal 1992 when Bear Stearns earned a record $300.3 million, company officials may give as much as $12 million to charity, said William Montgoris, chief financial officer.

"We don't care who they give it to. We don't care how they give it," Montgoris said. "If they don't meet the 4% at the end of the year, we ask them how they're going to make it up.

"There have been times when we've taken money from people's bonuses."

Some other securities firms encourage employees to donate to charity, but Bear Stearns is the only major New York securities firm with publicly traded stock that requires charitable contributions. The company started the policy about 14 years ago, Chairman Alan Greenberg said.

When you think of Wall Street, thoughts of people getting rather than giving come to mind. However, many Wall Street executives are involved in not-for-profit organizations.

For example, Robert Rubin, the former co-chairman of Goldman, Sachs & Co. who was named Clinton's assistant for economic policy, includes on his resume positions as trustee for the American Ballet Theatre Foundation and vice chairman of Mt. Sinai Hospital and Medical School.

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