Happy Old Year: It’s good to be a banker. Compensation analyst Johnson Associates Inc. says Wall Street investment bankers will earn incentives as much as 20 percent higher than a year ago. Major brokerages, flush with earnings and fueled by the competition for top talent, are fueling the larger incentives, which cut across all sectors in financial services. Year-end incentives, including cash bonuses and equity awards, are expected to increase 10 percent to 15 percent above 2005 levels.
That’s not all. Top executives are closing the year with 31 percent more cash in their pockets, despite suffering a slight drop in their average salary. That’s because annual average cash bonuses for the highest-paid executives increased 48.2 percent, from $2,375,615 in 2005 to $3,521,615.