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Almost Half of Wall Streeters to Get Bigger Bonuses This Year

A survey firm official says the public often thinks of bonuses as a ‘four-letter word,’ but points out the bonuses are based on performance.

January 27, 2010
Related Topics: Finance/Taxes, Compensation Design and Communication, Latest News
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Nearly every Wall Street worker is getting a bonus this year despite public outrage over banker compensation.

A new study conducted eFinancialCareers Ltd. showed that 92 percent of Wall Street workers have been told by their firms that they will get a bonus in the coming weeks for their performance in 2009. This compares with 79 percent who got bonuses last year for their work in 2008.

Of the 92 percent who are getting bonuses this year, 69 percent are getting at least the same amount they got last year.

In fact, nearly half—46 percent to be exact—are pulling in a fatter bonus than they received in 2008. Less than a third of the Wall Street workers will be getting smaller bonuses this year than last.

Employers seem to be supersizing bonuses this year as well. Workers in line for larger bonuses will be receiving, on average, double what they got in 2008.

The highest bonuses are going to employees at investment banks, private-equity firms, hedge funds and those working in trading and fixed-income markets. Wall Streeters working in wealth management, retail banking, real estate and investment marketing will get smaller bonuses.

“This is a very flexible performance-related pay structure,” said John Benson, chief executive of eFinancalCareers. “I think you’re seeing people who are clearly being rewarded for work well done. And firms can trim compensation levels if an individual has done less well.”

Benson said the public often thinks of bonuses as a “four-letter word,” but he pointed out that the bonuses are based on performance.

“I think the word ‘bonus’ is often taken by many people on Main Street to mean something that’s unexpected,” he said. “What we’re talking about here is performance-related pay.”

Survey participants did not disclose the exact breakdown of their bonuses. But 39 percent of financial services professionals indicated that bonuses that are more heavily weighted in stock would not influence their decision to leave their current position.

Filed by Lisa Shidler of InvestmentNews, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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