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Wall Street Bonuses Dip Year/Year, Fatter Bonus is No Guarantee of Satisfaction
added: 2011-01-27

Average Wall Street bonuses dropped five percent year/year, according to early reporting of Wall Street professionals who are bonus-eligible and know the amount of their annual bonus. As regulators, governments and banks across the globe continue to scrutinize compensation, reported individual bonuses ranged from $0 to $5 million, demonstrating that pay-for-performance remains intact on Wall Street.

The majority (56%) of financial markets professionals who saw bonuses in both years took home more than the previous year, while nearly one in five (19%) saw their bonuses decline year/year. Eight percent of bonus-eligible Wall Street professionals took home no bonus this year.

Changing firms is no guarantee of a higher bonus. Fifteen percent of respondents indicated switching employers was the number one reason their bonuses decreased. A similar number (12%) said the opposite was true – switching firms was the primary reason for the rise in their bonuses.

Still, more than one-third (37%) of Wall Street professionals who responded are looking to change firms, with another eight percent are looking for new positions within their existing firms.

"It's become a cliche to talk about retention issues in the first quarter of the year post-bonuses. But that doesn't mean it isn't a significant issue this year, after financial markets professionals have been stretched over the last two years and recruitment activity continues to strengthen," said Constance Melrose, Managing Director, eFinancialCareers North America. "The bottom line is there are more opportunities this year for Wall Street professionals to make a career move, and that's true on the sell-side and more recently the buy-side. When the largest and most sophisticated financial institutions are putting money toward retention programs, it's no red herring."

Average bonuses were higher year/year for individuals specializing in investment banking, foreign exchange, derivatives, research and private equity. Fund management, risk management and commodities bonuses were on average lower by comparison.

Half of Wall Street professionals were satisfied with their bonus amount. For those who were dissatisfied (34%), their bonuses were barely one-third of their more satisfied colleagues. Looking more closely at those who received more or less, nearly two-thirds (65%) of financial markets professionals that received a bonus increase were satisfied, while 19 percent were dissatisfied. For those with a bonus decrease, just 19 percent were content, while 68 percent were dissatisfied.

Source: PR Newswire

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