Bonuses - What The Firms Have Said So Far

As firms get down to sorting out their bonuses numbers, some senior executives have been commenting on their firm's performances this year and making specific or veiled hints about bonuses. Here's what's been said so far.

ABN Amro

The bank has put in a good performance this year and the full year figures should come in well ahead of its own original projections. Staff at the wholesale bank, however, will probably not see large increases in their bonus numbers.

Wilco Jiskoot, head of the bank's wholesale banking arm, said last week: 'For most of us, it's probably too early to say that there is a real improvement across the whole spectrum. One of the things we've learned from mistakes of the past few years is that profitability comes first'.


Credit Suisse's investment banking arm is back in the black after a tough couple of years. Chief financial officer Barbara Yastine is quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying that this year's bonuses are likely to be 'sober, but positively sober. We are certainly not back to the headier days of 2000'.


The group makes more money than any other business in financial services. Profits for the last quarter rose 27% to a record $4.7bn. The New York Daily News quoted Citigroup's chief financial officer Todd Thompson, who recently confirmed that the bank had set aside more cash this year for bonuses. Staff at the investment banking division, however, feel that they are unlikely to see much more in their own bonus pot this year.

Merrill Lynch

Third quarter net profits came in at just over $1bn and the firm has confirmed that its two-year salary freeze is over. Staff earning a base salary of less than $100,000 may get an uplift at the next review. CEO Stan O'Neal has said that staff earning over $100,000 should expect their performances to be recognised in their year-end bonus. Staff expectations will need to be managed as the bonus pool is unlikely to be very much bigger than last year.


John Costas, the man who heads up the bank's investment banking unit, is feeling much more optimistic about life in the industry than he was just 12 months ago. Recently speaking to journalists in London, Costas confirmed that bonuses at his firm would be better this year than in 2002 and 2001. He did, however, remind all concerned that shareholders too needed their pound of flesh. Staff may therefore get more in the way of bonus this year, but not necessarily much more.

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