Lean Bonus Season Ahead for Wall Street Bankers

Lean Bonus Season Ahead for Wall Street BankersWith unemployment hovering stubbornly at 9%, late mortgage payments rising for the first time since 2009, and the number of Americans living in poverty rising to a record 49.1 million, it seems that Main Street is headed for a hard, cold holiday season. But, somewhat surprisingly, so too are the fat cats of Wall Street -- relatively speaking.

According to a report released by the compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates, corporate bonuses -- which are often the crown jewels of compensation packages, making up the bulk of bankers' pay -- are set to fall an average of 20% to 30% this year.

It attributes the cuts to a "challenging market environment," in particular the "sluggish and uncertain" recovery.

The forecast, if accurate, would make this "the weakest bonus season since the financial crisis," The New York Times observes, "and a reflection of the leaner times confronting the industry."

Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates, announced the news with sadness: "This year started with great promise for a banner year on Wall Street, but hopes for larger bonuses faded over the summer and continue to dim as we approach year end."

"It is disappointing," Mr. Johnson told The New York Times' Dealbook. "I think we were all hoping we were out of this morass."

Traders, investment bankers and senior management look set to suffer the steepest declines in compensation, but those who manage wealthy clients' money might actually see a small increase in their bonuses.

Although The Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb recently reported that Wall Street firms made more money in the first two and half year of the Obama administration than they did during the entire presidency of George W. Bush, some banks have shown signs of faltering. Goldman Sachs (GS) reported its second-ever quarterly loss in October, and Bank of America (BAC) has said it will lay off 30,000 workers.

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Weakest "bonus season" .. What's a bonus? In this economy where most are struggling, and not even earning what they once did, a bonus is a pipe dream .. or a memory of something that once was .. but .. not to the bankers .. those poor, poor chaps will still get their bonus, just not as much .. gah I feel so sorry for them [cough!]

November 10 2011 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The top dogs of Fannie and Freddie are looking for bonuses this year too while at the same time asking for more billions of dollars. Nothing has changed.

November 10 2011 at 7:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill Simpson

WHAT! No Wall Street banker bonus bailout ?

November 10 2011 at 4:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Violet's News

All the Scrooges coming out of the banks with their bah humbug on the rest of the
world have to face up to their own ghosts because many people are not able to
afford food on the holiday, no less bonuses. There's one thing the 1% totally
forgot with their greed and that is when they sell a product, they still need
people to buy it, so not voting a job bill only comes back to haunt them. one
way or the other.

November 09 2011 at 9:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh, P L E A S E.....let's feel SO sorry for them. Bonus ? Millions of people don't even get a PAYCHECK because they have no job! No sympathy from this person.

November 09 2011 at 5:02 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Let me break out my violin! These bums don't deserve bonuses, not after the 2008 Financial Meltdown. Now they can get down in the trenches with the rest of us and try to dig their way out (without any more bailouts).

November 09 2011 at 4:16 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

OMG how are these poor bastards going to make it through the holidays, don"t suppose they ever look out the window at the park to see how tough it really is, can"t feel sorry them .

November 09 2011 at 11:36 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Terrie & Gary

OMG how are these poor souls going to get through the holidays, they will have to cancel their island vacations, oh the thought of it just teas my up inside. SUCK IT UP! welcome to the real world. Maybe they should vounteer at a food pantry or serve meals at a homeless site. perhaps they might see the llight.

November 09 2011 at 10:56 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

You use the world as your personal casino. You lose most of your chips. You call Uncle Sam to cover you. Uncle gives you more than you need to cover your losses. You say "Thank You" and use the excess to line your pockets. Sure, I think you pieces of S..T deserve a bonus.....sure you do.

November 09 2011 at 10:43 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
rich lapinski

those poor banksters will lose 20-30% of their 6 figure bonus that they don't deserve.

November 09 2011 at 10:39 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply