Wall Street equity derivatives desks were abuzz last week with reports that Credit Suisse First Boston had bucked this year's trend and paid an eight-figure bonus to one of its star performers. Michael Crooks, managing director in equity derivatives group and head of the group's private client and retail team, reportedly received a bonus of at least $10 million, said rivals. Crooks did not return calls. Victoria Harmon, a CSFB spokeswoman in New York, denied the rumors. "That is absolutely not true."
If true, the payout is in stark contrast to most other Wall Street firms, which have been slashing their equity bonus payments after a dismal year. Crooks, who joined CSFB when the firm bought Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, was described as an "extraordinary" asset to CSFB by one awe-struck competitor. "He's an expert on the quantitative side, trading side and marketing side," said another equity derivatives trader.