Money Matters - Simplified

It's Good to Be Blackstone

By Tom Taulli

If you check out Forbes' rich list, Blackstone Group's CEO Stephen Schwarzman is worth about $2.5 billion. In light of the latest IPO filing from Blackstone, it looks like he stands to get a big bump in his ranking and move into the echelon of the megawealthy.


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Blackstone is one of the top global alternative asset managers and has about $88.4 billion under management. The firm's private equity funds have returned 30.7% per year since 1987.

With such killer returns, it should be no surprise that Schwarzman earned a cool $398.3 million last year. The amount is multiples above the compensation packages of CEOs at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH), and Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER).

"As is typical in the case of private equity firms, the compensation is almost 100% tied to performance," said Laura Thatcher, who is head of Alston & Bird's executive compensation practice, in a Fool interview. "The salaries of Blackstone's executives are fairly modest at $350,000 and there are no bonuses. The substantial compensation figures ($400 million last year for the CEO) are almost completely a function of the executives' percentage interests in the profits of Blackstone and their allocated shares of the carried interest or incentive fees payable in respect of its investment funds." (You can see the full interview on my CAPS blog).

Keep in mind that Schwarzman is also a big equity holder in Blackstone and plans to cash out at least $677.2 million on the IPO. Even after this, he will still have a stake worth $7.5 billion.

This is assuming the stock price is $30 per share. As seen with February's IPO of Fortress Investment Group (NYSE: FIG), investors are hungry for offerings of alternative investment managers. So it's a good bet that Schwarzman's equity stake will be worth much more than $7.7 billion.

With these kinds of numbers, I have a feeling that most MBA students will want to find out how to break into the private equity world. We'll probably see some interesting books hit the market and perhaps a couple of movies. And as more private equity firms continue to go public, let's expect some major changes to the Forbes list.