What's happening to pay at JPMorgan?

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On one hand, it looks like the famously frugal Jamie Dimon may be splashing out more than he can afford. But closer examination suggests JPMorgan bankers could be in for a shock.

According to JPMorgan's Q2 results, the investment bank spent 57% of its total net revenues on compensation costs in the last quarter, up from 41% in Q1 and 45% for the same period last year.

Dimon justified the splurge by saying he doesn't want his investment bankers "getting depressed" (Reuters).

However, a comparison with pay accrued at JPMorgan in the first half of last year suggests its bankers have ample reason to be morose: in the first six months of 2007 average comp was $206k per head; in YTD 2008 it was just $118k.