UK bankers are most pessimistic about 2008

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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 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).