Once upon a time, Deutsche Bank announced bonuses for its investment bank around Valentine’s Day. In 2016, it delayed announcing them until March. In 2017 it delayed announcing them until March too. And this year, it will delay announcing them until March again.
So say headhunters and employees at Deutsche’s investment bank in London. Deutsche itself declined to comment on the issue.
The latest delay could simply be dismissed as more of the same, except that the reassurances from Deutsche executives that bonuses will revert to “normal” this year seem to led to an expectation of a normal payment date too.
Last year, needless to say, things were anything but normal at Deutsche Bank as performance bonuses were reduced to almost nothing. In 2016 bonuses were at least paid, but Deutsche managing directors complained of having their pay cut to allow the bank to better compensate people in the mid-ranks.
With questions being raised about Deutsche’s ability to reward its bankers in line with its own promises, the delayed payment date could be read as an attempt by the bank to buy time. It could also be read as an effort to stymie the exit of any bankers dissatisfied with their bonuses: with most U.S banks announcing their bonuses in January and most European banks announcing in February, Deutsche’s bankers are now towards the end of the queue when it comes to learning their numbers. This will give unhappy staff at other firms a head start on looking for new jobs – and may make it harder for DB bankers unhappy with this year’s bonuses to move on.
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