Where the guarantees are

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If you still have a job at the end of the year, bonuses are clearly going to be abysmal, but amidst the chaos it's easy to forget that some people will be fine. Some people have guarantees. And they are not all working at Nomura.

Cast your mind back to this time last year. In October 2007, Royal Bank of Scotland hadn't seen its share price plummet more than 30% in one day and was looking forward to the assimilation of ABN AMRO. Conditions were bad, but not that bad - it was still possible that key people could walk into new jobs.

At some point in the acquisition process, headhunters say RBS therefore extended a one-year guarantee to ABN's key people. They are assured of receiving bonuses at 2007 levels as a result.

"They were fairly few and far between, but ABN's top rainmakers certainly got them," says one equities headhunter.

Guarantees are also said to have been issued to managing directors and directors at Dresdner Kleinwort, which is in the process of being acquired by Commerzbank.

"Allianz guaranteed bonuses for senior staff at Dresdner Kleinwort," claims one headhunter. "They also got a stock trigger when the bank was acquired by Commerz - senior management got 1.5 times their previously held stock. MDs got 1.25 times."

Numis and ICAP are also said to have been paying guarantees. So, apparently, has Jefferies.

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