So what's the verdict ?
The New York Times reports that Wall Street employees, whose paychecks have often been cut in recent years, are likely to get a slight bump in their bonuses this year. The catch: the increase will come on top of one of the worst years for bank pay in recent memory.
Year-end incentives, which include cash bonuses and stock awards, will be flat to up to 10 percent higher when compared with last year, according to a closely watched compensation survey to be released on Monday. But firms drastically cut costs, employment and, as a result, pay, in 2011.
'It has been a slow recovery, just like the economy', said Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates, the privately held firm that conducted the survey. 'Following a year when year-end incentives declined by as much as 30%, the fact that many firms are able to keep this year’s bonuses flat or slightly larger is notable'.
One banker told Here Is The City: 'The problem with all this is that you actually have to be in a job at year-end to qualify for a bonus. But the only reason that firms will be able to keep their comp pots relatively stable is that they have shrunk headcount. Many bankers I know feel that their bonus will be keeping their jobs!'.
In the meantime, Bloomberg reports that a win by Mitt Romney in tomorrow’s U.S. presidential election is more likely to boost Wall Street compensation than if voters re-elect President Barack Obama, according to a survey conducted by eFinancialCareers.
The poll of 911 financial-market professionals found 57% expect the election to change compensation, while 32% said it won’t and 11 percent said they didn’t know, eFinancialCareers said in a statement.
Of those who expect the election to influence pay, 72% view a victory by Romney, a Republican, as having a 'positive' effect on compensation, the survey found. Re- electing Obama, a Democrat, was viewed as positive for compensation by 18% and negative by 71%, the survey found.