Incentive awards on Wall Street expected to improve

Year-end incentive payouts for Wall Street professionals are estimated to either remain flat or experience moderate increases from last year when they tanked throughout the industry, according to an annual compensation analysis released today by Johnson Associates Inc., a New York-based compensation consulting firm. 

“The recovery in financial services continues to be a struggle, and while incentives will be modestly up, few professionals will have reason to cheer,” says Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates. “With wide variations in outcomes and an uncertain outlook, the bonus season will be rightfully subdued. Following a year when year-end incentives declined by as much as 30 percent, the fact that many firms are able to keep this year’s bonuses flat or slightly larger is notable.” 

Specifically, the analysis finds that overall year-end incentives, which include cash bonuses as well as equity awards, could see gains anywhere from 5 percent to 10 percent over 2011’s figures. The exact increase is expected vary by firm and business. 

Fixed income traders had an especially tough year in 2011 regarding year-end incentives, but those incentives are project to rise 10 to 20 percent this year. Investment bankers and equities traders, however, are predicted to face flat or trimmed incentives by 10 percent or more. For the remaining financial services industry, including prime brokerage, asset management, high net worth, retail and commercial banking and hedge funds, incentives should remain unchanged or hit a slightly higher figure by 5 percent to 10 percent.



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