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Just don’t expect to get promoted

In any normal downturn, banks might offer promotions in consolation for failing to offer large bonuses. This time, however, things are different.

It looks like banks have given up on the notion of consoling people: bonuses are small and promotions are almost inexistent.

“There were a lot less promotions this year than there would normally have been and quite a few performers at associate level didn’t get promoted,” says a newly crowned VP at one US investment bank. “The reality is that over the bull market they recruited a lot of people who were below their normal calibre and those people were promoted purely to stop them from leaving.

“In this environment, there’s no need to promote people – you’re just increasing your cost base,” he adds.

Morgan Stanley is among the banks said to have held back on promotions. Earlier this month it announced the promotion of 133 people to managing director. Back in 2006, there were 228 MD appointees.

Barclays Capital is also said to be creating ripples in New York over an alleged failure to honour promotions promised to some people at Lehman. “People are really peed off,” says one ex-Lehman insider. Barclays declined to comment.

Comments (13)

  1. pointless article…everyone knows this already. just another filler !

  2. This is a joke. I have worked my backside off to make a senior grade. I was *verbally* promised this promotion by management throughout the previous year. I have now been told that it’s not going to happen.

    With pay freezes; very limited upside bonus potential; and now limited promotion potential I ask what’s the point?


  3. Hey you guys sure don’t do your homework. Seems like just about everyone at Nomura got promoted. Even the dregs of Lehman that would have been cut in a normal year got promoted. A guy who was promoted to associate last year got promoted to VP this year. What a joke.

    AG, Portfolio Manager

  4. I cant believe people are actually bothered – VP of what exactly? I mean who cares…VP of the Firm that would fire you next week without a second thought…

    Corporate titles are just a way to keep the masses & sheep in line.

  5. The point is mate if you don’t like it quit, or if you think you are going to get some serious redunancy money then try to get fired. Then go away on hols for 6 months, that’s what I did back when they were still paying redundnacies 6 months ago, and made up my money to leave anyway. Else stay where you are and be thankful you have a job.

  6. Agree with AG. Nomura really don’t have a clue when it comes to investment banking. They liked the snooty brand of Lehman without understanding what the bank was, so they ended up paying guarantees (even to idiots) and now they are promoting those same people.

  7. Reward failure “not” lehman created and now dissapointed no bonus / nor promotions

    JobSeeker-london Reply
  8. Disagree with Dave. Getting promoted to Vice President early, ie age 24-25, is possibly the best thing that can happen to a young guy. People outside the industry are completely oblivious to how little it means, and thus the admiration, respect and kudos you can get is incredible. I’ve been featured in my university alumni newsletter, the local paper etc for making “Vice President” of my investment bank age 24. The interest I get from girls now is off the scale vs being a mere “associate” previously. And the fact that less people are getting it is great, makes my achievement all the more outstanding. Titles matter so much more to me than bonuses.

  9. Err VP at 24? I don’t think so somehow. Carry on dreaming.

  10. & I know 3 VPs age 24. It is entirely possible if you skipped a year at school, stood out so got an early promotion, are at a bank where analysts become associates in 1-2yrs, etc. Completely agree with the above, VP at 24-25 is many people’s dream goal.

  11. Aside from the Front Office – would anyone really want to be a VP?

    A few banks have AVP roles, VP-esque work yet no where near as much responsibility. Comp for top performing AVP’s will mirror that of mid performing VP’s.

    VP’s have to take an awful lot of shi..

  12. Fxo man, don’t insult me, I do indeed know 3 people who made VP age 24, I just won’t post their personal details here.

    At ABN Amro, many people I know went from analyst to associate in just 12 months. HSBC did a few of these as well. And then 2 years is the normal minimum associate to VP, although as someone above commented Nomura let some become VPs after 1 year as Associate.

    So if someone does their 3yr UK bachelor degree, starts in the City at 21, becomes Associate after 12mths at ABN/HSBC, then VP after 2yrs as Associate, VOILA THERE YOU HAVE A 24YO ASSOCIATE.

  13. I mean 24yo VP obviously.

    There’s an Associate at ABN Amro in Equity Research who is 21. Know a ton of 22-23yo Associates in the front office.

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