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2012 bank-by-bank analyst bonuses, courtesy of Dartmouth Partners. Morgan Stanley and Barclays look like the best payers

UBS and Macquarie don't seem to be winning (Photo credit: The Happy Rower)

UBS and Macquarie don't seem to be winning (Photo credit: The Happy Rower)

The commentary and figures below have been very kindly provided by Dartmouth Partners. The usual caveats apply: the figures given are based upon bonuses paid to a sample of candidates and may diverge from reality. However, it looks – generally – like Morgan Stanley, Barclays and JPMorgan have been quite generous this year. UBS and Macquarie, less so.

“It’s just the grinding and hard work and 120 miles a week, week in, week out and long distance events and what you put into it is what you get out.” – Mo Farah

It seems apt to start this bonus survey with one of my favourite recent quotes from the 2012 Olympic Games. In the “New Normal” we’ve had to re-adjust to looking at our careers as a long distance event rather than a sprint. It’s four years since Lehman’s collapsed and in that time we’ve had more than a few false starts. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to reflect on the way you approach your career and compensation. To think about endurance and pacing yourself as the promised finish line shifts even further into the distance.

The data gathered from our survey suggests that bonuses are still making their way down from the giddy heights reached at the peak. Bonuses are down from last year, on average 25%, which follows on from the Associate and VP numbers announced earlier in the year. Similarly, the spread is much greater than it has been historically, with more zeroes, (the wrong kind) than we’re used to the Analyst level. As most banks are still examining their cost base, a “doughnut” can be read as a clear indication that it might be time to jump before you are pushed. Having said that, for those receiving bonuses towards the top-end, it’s certainly worth remembering that compensation levels for a young twentysomething still look very attractive.

It’s certainly not all doom and gloom. Equity markets are in positive territory. There’s been a recent uptick in M&A related news flow. And within each sector whilst there are some losers, there are some winners too. People are finding creative ways of reinventing themselves, their businesses and in some cases, their industry. The opportunity cost for either embarking on a new career or starting a business is as low as it is ever likely to be. On the plus side for career bankers, this means less competition.

The recruitment market has surprised us again. Many boutiques are still selectively hiring, as there seems to be an increasing market for unbiased, independent advice. We’ve found our clients to be understandably selective but willing to act quickly when they’ve found someone. Within Private Equity, first time or spin-out funds have kept us busy, alongside some of the more established players. There’s been a great deal of “benchmarking” but clients again have made hires when they are satisfied they’ve found the best person possible. Finally, having recently relocated to Moorgate, just a hop, skip and a jump away from Silicon Roundabout, we’ve found many smaller clients looking to hire disillusioned talent from both consulting and banking. There’s plenty of time to switch events before Rio.

Logan Naidu, CEO
September 2012

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