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US lawmakers seek to tie exec pay to performance

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Barney Frank and other lawmakers are discussing a plan to link executive pay to the long-term performance of companies, the Wall Street Journal said.

Frank, who chairs the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, and other prominent Democrats appear to back such a plan, though no legislation has been introduced, the paper said.

“We plan to put laws into effect, no question,” the paper cited Frank as saying. “We have to address this 'heads I win, tails I break even' issue.”

Cuomo's office could not be immediately reached by Reuters for comment.

This week, Cuomo and Frank demanded Bank of America Corp provide more details on $6.9 billion in bonuses paid in 2008, including $3.6 billion at the former Merrill Lynch & Co.

US President Barack Obama has cracked down on Wall Street pay and set a $500,000 annual cap on executive pay at companies receiving taxpayer funds, tapping popular anger over financial sector excesses.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the WSJ said Cuomo is examining ways to further stagger both cash and stock compensation payments over several years.

A person close to Cuomo told the paper that change is needed but the intent isn't to micromanage or interfere with the private sector.

“We certainly need to understand the industry's perspective on the potential unintended consequences of compensation reform before we finalize these long overdue changes,” the person told the paper. (Reuters)