Mario Gabelli, chairman, chief executive and chief investment officer of Gabelli Asset Management, was paid an eye-popping $55 million in compensation last year, a sizeable increase from the $38.7 million he earned the previous year.


According to a proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gabelli took in an incentive-based management fee of $11,016,609, or 10% of the company's pre-tax profits, $16,418,241 for serving as portfolio manager and servicing a number of separate accounts and $16,342,698 for creating and acting as portfolio manager of several open-end Gabelli funds.


He also reaped another $8,078,464 for creating and acting as portfolio manager of closed-end Gabelli funds and $3,150,793 for acting as portfolio manager for several partnerships and as a broker. Throw in another $496 for a contribution made under the company's profit-sharing plan and his total compensation package comes to $55,007,300.


Gabelli did not receive a base salary, a bonus or stock options in 2004, as stipulated by his contract each year since the company went public in 1999. All of the compensation paid to Mr. Gabelli in 2004 was incentive-based variable compensation.


Some industry observers have criticized Gabelli saying he encumbers his mutual funds with high management fees, which may help explain his hefty payout.

 He was also recently vilified for reopening the Gabelli ABC fund in March, when 70% of the fund's assets were already in cash. Bringing in new cash before he could put existing dollars to work benefited the company's bottom line in the form of higher fees but not exactly in the best interest of shareholders.


















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