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Merrill Lynch CEO Receives $47.3 Million Bonus for 2006

Merrill Lynch Chairman and Chief Executive Stan O'Neal received a $47.3 million bonus for his work in 2006, making him one of Wall Street's highest-paid executives, the brokerage disclosed on Wednesday.

O'Neal's award, which includes cash and stock, was 30% higher than the previous year when he received a total bonus of $36.3 million. Payouts for 2005 and 2006 include $2 million retained by the company for O'Neal's participation in the managing partner incentive program.

His bonus consisted of a $18.5 million cash incentive and a restricted stock award of $28.8 million, Merrill Lynch said. That's on top of an annual salary of $700,000.

O'Neal runs the world's largest brokerage, whose stock is up 31% in the past year. Merrill Lynch posted record profits in 2006 amid a worldwide surge in investment banking activity.

A global dealmaking frenzy helped boost total Wall Street bonuses to a record $23.9 billion for 2006, up from $20.5 billion in 2005, according to the New York state comptroller's office.

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein set the high-water mark for Wall Street bonuses, receiving $53.4 million for 2006. Morgan Stanley's CEO John Mack got $40 million in cash and stock.