The Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation, Kenneth Feinberg, says he is not able to retroactively rescind bonuses for executives at firms that received assistance.

After a lengthy review, Feinberg’s office issued a statement Friday, saying no effort would be made to clawback some of the $1.6 billion in payments that went to executives of companies, including New York-based American International Group, during a four-month period of 2008 and 2009. “Although authority to conduct the review and obtain compensation information was provided under the statute and regulations, the Special Master had no authority to force reimbursements from firms or executives, or require any other remedy,” Feinberg said in a statement.  

While not able to change the past, Feinberg is proposing new rules going forward. One recommendation is that a firm in a crisis situation would have the authority to void financial guarantees made to top executives. “Under the proposal, if the company's board of directors has identified that the firm is in a crisis situation, the compensation committee would have the authority to restructure, reduce or cancel pending payments to executives—and this authority would supersede any rights and entitlements executives have in normal circumstances,” the statement added.

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