Bonus Madness

Investment Banker Bonus Protest

The Wall Street Journal reports that pay on Wall Street 'is on pace to break a record high for a second consecutive year'.

The data collected in a recent survey conducted by the newspaper reveals that compensation likely to be paid by a group of 35 US publicly quoted banks, securities firms, money managers, hedge funds and securities exchanges could hit some $144bn for 2010, up 4% on 2009. Overall, compensation is expected to rise at 26 of the 35 firms.

And two bonus polls published this week revealed that around 50% of financial markets professionals in London and New York anticipate that their 2010 bonus will be bigger than last year.

Our own research of people who completed bonus surveys this year, however, has revealed:

31.3% are in denial, and have totally lost touch with reality

26.7% display worrying tendencies of wishful thinking

12.7% were abducted by aliens and had only recently returned to the markets following 12 months away

10.6% were convinced that pigs actually can fly

9.4% admitted to indulging in the odd puff

9.3% said that they enjoyed having a laugh when completing surveys of this nature

One compensation professional told Here Is The City: 'This is perhaps the perfect storm for bonuses. The political opposition to large payouts during a time of economic uncertainty will conspire with the business threats of increased regulation, the need to retain additional capital to meet Basle III requirements and the fact that industry revenues have come under pressure in recent months.

'With expectations for large bonuses clearly very high, there will be a lot of disappointed people out there when the numbers are finally given out for 2010'.

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