A mass exodus of investment professionals departing from Janus Capital Management was averted this week when 21 portfolio managers inked fresh contracts promising merit-based bonuses linked to investment performance, Rocky Mountain News reports.

Company officials have been on guard for talent flight since Tom Marsico left the firm in 1997 and Helen Young Hayes stepped down in 2003. The company's latest steps to strengthen compensation packages for seasoned portfolio managers narrowly averted a devastating walkout.

Steve Scheid, chief executive, and Gary Black, chief investment officer, both of whom recently ascended in the company's ranks after regulatory troubles ignited a management shakeup, are outspoken proponents of performance-based compensation.

In the past, managers benefited in down markets from compensation packages tied to assets under management. Previous compensation packages also drew fire for linking fund managers' pay to fees generated by funds rather than performance figures.

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