Seasonal cheer for investment bankers

Dec 02 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Christmas bonuses may be going out of fashion in many organisations, but for the investment banking community this year looks like being business as usual as far as big payouts are concerned.

According to the new Investment Bank Bonus Survey carried out in the U.S. by career publisher Vault Inc, seven out of 10 investment bankers are expecting to receive a bonus this year.

Almost half (44 per cent) anticipate a higher bonus than last year's, while one in six (17 per cent) think the bonus they receive will be "about the same."

Only 5 per cent of investment bankers expected to see a decrease in their bonus amount.

A majority of investment bankers expect to be satisfied with the bonus amount. One in six (17 per cent) anticipate an "excellent" bonus, while more than a third (36 per cent) expect their bonuses to be "pretty good."

Not all investment bankers anticipate a good bonus, however, with a third expecting their bonuses to be just "average" and a disappointed 15 per cent saying that their upcoming bonus will be "poor."

But one banker who said that he expects his bonus to be "enormous" added: "I would imagine any bank paying sub-street levels will see a huge flight of talent..."

For one major bank, at least, this is unlikely to be a worry. According to the Options Group executive search firm, Goldman Sachs, which made a profit of more than $5bn (2.9bn) this year, has a bonus pot of more than $11bn (6.4bn) to divide among its 22,000 U.S. employees.

Even first-year associates can expect to see at least $70,000 (41,000) extra in their Christmas pay packets, while 250 senior staff are each expected to receive payouts of up to $2.6m (1.5m) each.

Bonuses in London are expected to mirror or even exceed the bonanza in the U.S Options Group found, with some City high-flyers receiving as much as 20 per cent more than their US counterparts.

When asked how they'll be spending this year's bonus, most investment bankers told Vault that they will be saving or investing the money.

But for one U.S. banker, romantic largesse has dispelled any notions of prudence. He said he will be "buying a new Bentley for my wife."