Topping a Record Year, Nearly All Financial Pros Take Home Bonus

Jan 25, 2010, 07:00 ET from

NEW YORK, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly every Wall Street professional will receive a year-end bonus - and for those collecting more, the amounts are double the previous year's payouts, according to a survey on the bonus season's early results by eFinancialCareers, the leading career site for financial professionals.  

Given the financial performance across Wall Street firms, the finding that 92 percent of financial services professionals received bonuses may not be a surprise.  However, that number easily surpasses the 79 percent who received a year-end bonus when a comparable group was polled last year.  

Two-thirds of financial services professionals who saw bonuses in both years took home the same or more than the previous year, including nearly half of respondents (46%) who received fatter bonuses.  On average, those outperformers saw their bonuses more than double versus the previous year, while their Wall Street counterparts who earned less year-over-year (31%) saw their bonuses cut in half.

"This bonus season demonstrates the pay-for-performance nature of Wall Street compensation," said John Benson, founder & CEO of  "Lost in the uproar is how a responsive compensation structure does modulate based on firm and personal performance.  With one-third of financial professionals making less this year, it's up to them to decide if it's rightly deserved or not. If not, opportunities are growing and they should be galvanized to look elsewhere."

The Wall Street specialties taking home the highest bonuses were investment banking, private equity/venture capital, fund management/hedge funds, trading, and debt/fixed income.    

Sell-side professionals enjoyed stronger year-over-year increases than the buy-side, but the buy-side still earns more on average.  This disparity may be the cause of a sharp divide in satisfaction.  Nearly half (47%) of sell-siders are satisfied with their compensation, versus the 37 percent who are displeased.  On the buy-side, it's an even split between dissatisfaction and satisfaction – both totaling 42 percent of respondents.  

Nearly four in ten (39%) financial services professionals indicated bonuses more heavily weighted in stock would not influence their decision to leave current position.  However, those earning bonuses in excess of $100,000 indicated this type of pay structure change would impact their willingness to stay, particularly if bonuses were split evenly between cash and stock.  

About eFinancialCareers

eFinancialCareers, a Dice Holdings, Inc. company, is the leading global career site network for professionals working in the investment banking, asset management and securities industries. The website provides financial services professionals with job opportunities, job market news and analysis, salary surveys and career advice.  Recruiters and employers can post jobs targeting specific sectors within the financial services industry, both buy-side and sell-side, and can search the resume database for highly qualified and specialized professionals. eFinancialCareers has a network of co-branded career sites with industry-leading trade publications and offers local websites in 18 markets and five languages primarily across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

Table 1:  How did your 2009 bonus compare to the previous year's bonus?





Stayed the same


Table 2:  Change in Average Bonuses from 2008

For those receiving higher bonuses


For those receiving lower bonuses


For Sell-side professionals


For Buy-side professionals


Table 3:  Specialties with Highest Bonuses (Ranked)

1.  Investment Banking

2.  Private Equity/Venture Capital

3.  Fund Management/Hedge Funds

4.  Trading

5.  Debt/Fixed Income

Table 4:  How satisfied are you with your 2009 bonus?



Very Satisfied



Somewhat Satisfied



Neither Satisfied or Dissatisfied



Somewhat Dissatisfied



Very Dissatisfied



Table 5:  If your current employer were to more heavily weight stock in bonus payments than it does currently, at what point do you consider leaving?

70% Cash/30% Stock


50% Cash/50% Stock


30% Cash/70% Stock


100% Stock


Would not influence my decision to leave current job


Employer already pays at least 30% of bonus in stock


Survey Methodology

The eFinancialCareers Bonus Survey was administered online January 4 to 13, 2010 with nearly 850 registered U.S. eFinancialCareers users responding.  To be included in the survey results, registered users indicated their 2009 bonus was revealed to them and they are currently employed.

Jennifer Bewley, 212-448-8288


Makovsky + Company

Jonathan Blank, 212-508-9615

Stephen Stewart, 212-508-9622