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UK bankers are most pessimistic about 2008

Forget the gloom on Wall Street: globally, London’s investment bankers are the most convinced that business is on a downwards curve.

A survey of 20,270 global financial services employees by eFinancialCareers.com reveals that 40.8% of bankers in London expect 2008 to be worse for business than 2007.

By comparison, only 31.8% of US bankers predict a deterioration next year.

The most optimistic banking types are located in the Gulf, where a mere 12.3% expect a downturn in 2008 and 69.3% are confident that next year will be better than this one. Hong Kong and Singapore-based bankers are also relatively upbeat, with 40.5% and 41.6% respectively forecasting a better 2008.

UK bankers’ relative despondency follows a report in the Financial Times earlier this week that the NYSE and Nasdaq are set to raise more money via IPOs than the London Stock Exchange and AIM for the first time in three years.

Bigger bonuses still predicted

However, London bankers’ despondency should not be overdone.

Despite redundancies and banks’ huge write-downs, financial services employees in the City remain remarkably (some might say foolishly) convinced that they’ll receive higher bonuses – 45.6% are predicting higher payouts this year than the bumper awards of 2006 and only 18.5% are expecting something lower. And nearly a quarter of respondents are expecting bonuses to rise by more than 50%.

Equity capital markets and M&A bankers are the most optimistic of the optimists when it comes to predicting this year’s bonuses. Unsurprisingly, debt capital markets and credit focused bankers are the most pessimistic (although 45.2% still anticipate an increase).

Comments (2)

  1. That’s what happens when things keep going up! People become complacent and think they’ll end up rich just by sitting behind a desk.

    Oh dear…

  2. The majority of bankers (especially true lower down the rungs) think they’ll get bigger bonuses simply because they’re one year more experienced than last year. Even though the whole pot may be smaller, their assessment is likely to be correct. To compare like with like, you should assess what people expect this year compared to what they would have got in exactly the same position last year. Analyse that, and you’ll undoubtedly see smaller bonuses.

    Of course, if your bonus is linked to specific P&L, or you’re an MD assessed on the whole performance of your team, then your bonus is likely to be less than last year.

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