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Exxon Reportedly To Mirror Peers with Cash Bonuses for Risk Traders

As ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) moves to expand its trading operations, risk-on traders will be awarded with new cash bonuses starting in December 2024, Bloomberg reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the structural changes.Exxon will categorize traders as “system traders” on one hand, and those who take risk to boost company profits on the other and cash performance bonuses will be distributed only to the risk-takers. 

“We strive to deliver competitive pay that will attract, reward and retain talented employees in support of the company´s business objectives,” Bloomberg cited Exxon spokesperson Emily Mir as saying. “Specific to select trader job roles, our compensation program is directly informed by company results, global trading results and individual performance.”The payment of bonuses has reportedly been a point of dispute among Exxon traders because of the failure to differentiate between regular system traders and those willing to take risk on behalf of the company. The reported restructuring of trading bonuses comes after Exxon in February announced a new trading division to compete with Shell and BP. Exxon recently opened a London trading office, as well. 

Exxon appeared to have difficulty attracting traders due to its bonus setup, which was less competitive than the large cash bonuses offered by its peers. During the pandemic, Exxon was seen to back down from trading, even as its peers were turning huge profits. In 2021, Exxon cut funding and staff at its trading unit, while others were taking advantage of wildly volatile oil markets. 

Exxon has “the potential to be great, but realizing that potential is not an easy thing to do,” Craig Pirrong, a professor of finance at the University of Houston, told Fortune magazine back in February when Exxon announced the expansion and consolidation of its trading unit. “It remains an open question how committed they will be. BP, Shell and Glencore and others have stuck with it through ups and downs. Exxon has not done that.”

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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