Fewer Than Half of U.S. Bankers Expect Bigger Bonus: Survey

Fewer than half of Wall Street employees expect a bigger bonus this year than in 2012, according to an eFinancialCareers.com survey, as the biggest investment banks cut the amount they allocate for pay.

About 42 percent of the 1,427 people who responded to the online survey in the U.S. said they think their year-end bonus will rise, while 30 percent expected the same amount, the job-search website operator said in a statement today. Ten percent said they expect a decline, while 18 percent were unsure.

U.S. respondents were less optimistic than those abroad, where at least half in each region expected a larger payout. Sixty-one percent who work in the Middle East and 50 percent in Singapore anticipated a bigger bonus.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the investment-bank divisions of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley all reduced compensation costs for the first nine months of the year by at least 3 percent compared with 2012, even as revenue climbed at each of the three companies.

Wall Street’s bonuses will probably depend on firms’ performances in the fourth quarter, Goldman Sachs President Gary D. Cohn said today in a Bloomberg Television interview with Stephanie Ruhle. While Cohn said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about his firm’s fourth quarter, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a report yesterday that the budget turmoil in Washington may hurt the period’s profits.

Quarterly Correlation

“To the extent that firms have decent fourth quarters, I think bonuses will be somewhat in line with last year,” said Cohn, 53. “I know at Goldman Sachs, if we don’t have a good fourth quarter, bonuses will be down, because the one thing we have done and have committed to our shareholders is that our bonus payments will be directly correlated to our revenue.”

Half of those responding globally said the only way to get a larger bonus is to move to another firm, according to eFinancialCareers, a unit of New York-based Dice Holdings Inc. The survey was conducted in September and received responses from front-office and support staff.

The survey was offered in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, the U.K., the U.S. and the Middle East, with 4,642 global respondents.

In Singapore, finance professionals expected their basic salaries to increase in 2014, with half of the respondents indicating this increase would come in the next six months, the survey showed. Within this group, 76 percent anticipate pay will climb as much as 10 percent.

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