Bloomberg reports that, according to search firm Armstrong International, senior line managers and executives at Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley, all of which give employees their bonus numbers in 3 or 4 weeks, still don't know whether they are on their arse or their elbow on the bonus payout front - and that's because bonus pot totals are changing rapidly in the light of recent additional subprime-related write-downs.
The news agency quotes Armstrong partner Matthew Osborne, who said that 'the numbers are changing daily, and that's quite disconcerting.....The global heads we speak to, and their bosses, this time last year were fine-tuning numbers. (This year) the majority of the banks' senior management are still in the dark with only a few weeks left'.
Finally, more heads are said to have rolled over at Bank of America's investment banking unit this week. Our sources tell us that it was first the turn of middle office staff in New York who worked with residential mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities and CDOs who were tapped on the shoulder this time. A few more junior traders were also said to have been sent on their way, together with a number of technology project managers. Severance terms there are said to have been pretty standard - 4 weeks pay, plus 2 weeks for each year of service. And no allowance made for missing out on a bonus so close to year-end. Happy Thanksgiving!
Over in London, Bank of America's middle office staff are also said to have had a bad day Thursday. Just as Brian Moynihan, the new boss of Global Corporate & Investment Banking was over holding a town hall meeting, several middle office types (including some from front office P&L) are said to have been called up by HR and told that their jobs were 'at risk'. Although the bank is looking to find many of those affected alternative positions, 10 - 20 are thought likely to ultimately lose their jobs.