March 9 (Bloomberg) -- The MF Global Holdings Ltd. executives who oversaw the company before it failed last year should get bonuses this year if a bankruptcy court approves, said Frank Piantidosi, an adviser working with the trustee, Louis Freeh.
The compensation packages are still being prepared, and would apply to three top executives: Bradley Abelow, Chief Operating Officer; Laurie Ferber, General Counsel and Henri J. Steenkamp, Chief Financial Officer, Piantidosi of Freeh Group International Solutions LLC said in an e-mail.
“The value that Brad, Henri and Laurie bring by helping to liquidate and recover assets for the estate outweighs the cost to retain them,” Piantidosi said. It would cost more to replace them with outside consultants less familiar with MF Global’s operations, he said.
MF Global Holdings, once run by former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, filed the eighth-largest U.S. bankruptcy on Oct. 31 after getting margin calls and bank demands for money at its operating unit, MF Global Inc. While the holding company is returning funds to creditors under Freeh in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the operating unit is retuning funds to customers under a separate trustee, James Giddens, appointed under the Securities Investor Protection Corp.
Giddens’ staff currently consists of about 70 former MF Global employees, none of whom are executives or get bonuses, said Kent Jarrell, a spokesman for Giddens. The brokerage estate, which is entirely separate from that of the holding company, has cut staff week by week as it comes closer to completing its work and expects to have 50 people left by next month, he said. Giddens, who is making his own investigation of the brokerage’s assets, has estimated a $1.6 billion shortfall between what has been identified, and what customers are owed.
The bonus amounts for the three executives would be less than they made prior to the bankruptcy, said Diana DeSocio, an MF Global spokeswoman. She declined to comment on how much they might be and said Freeh will separately seek court permission to pay another 21 other staff working on the estate. The staff are assisting Freeh with identifying assets, and fufilling the company’s duty to report to regulators and tax authorities, she said.
Members of Freeh Group International, a consulting firm, and Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP, a law firm, are both assisting Freeh.
MF Global Holdings filed bankruptcy after a $6.3 billion trade on its own behalf on bonds of some of Europe’s most indebted nations led to margin calls. Its bankruptcy filing listed assets of $41 billion and debt of $39.7 billion.
The brokerage case is Securities Investor Protection Corp. v. MF Global Inc., 11-02790, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The parent’s bankruptcy case is MF Global Holdings Ltd., 11-bk-15059, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).