Things you may not know about this year's Nomura bonuses

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Beehives, bonuses and allotments (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nomura announces its bonuses after everyone else. When all other bank have put bonus announcements behind them and are getting on with the year, Nomura is breaking the bad and good news to the inhabitants of St. Martin's Le-Grand (where we understand there to be, incidentally, not only bee hives but also vegetable beds).

In fact, we're a little late with this. Nomura's London staff were told their bonuses around two weeks ago. The picture there appears to be quite pretty, with caveats.

The good news

The good news, is that unlike last year - when Nomura allegedly paid 25% of its equity researchers no bonus at all and there was a lot of disappointment - Nomura seems to have paid ok in London. Several headhunters inform us of the happiness.

"They got paid quite well," says one fixed income headhunter. "The lowest person we've come across was paid down 30%, but most people who performed were paid flat on last year."

"People there seem to be ok," agrees an equities headhunter. "People have been paid down, but Nomura was within the range of most other banks and there was nothing startling about the numbers."

The bad news 

If the numbers weren't startling at Nomura, the deferrals - unfortunately - were.

Reuters reported last week that Nomura has introduced five year deferrals for its managing directors. This is "unheard of in recent times", it suggests - wrongly: Macquarie introduced five year deferrals a few years ago, but has now cut them to four years, subject to 'performance hurdles.'

Reuters says some particularly peeved MDs at Nomura have had the entirety of their bonuses deferred. However, the headhunters we spoke to begged to disagree: there's apparently a cash cap of around £100k, with deferrals starting beyond this point.

Some better news 

The Nomura deferral story isn't all bad. If MDs are being deferred for five years, the same can't be said for the rest of Nomura's staff who are reportedly having their bonuses deferred over the standard 3 years.

And MD's five year deferred bonuses are said to be front-loaded: more of them vest during the first three years than during the last two.

It still all looks preferable to Credit Suisse, where you can earn a lot of cash but senior staff receiving so-called 'PAF 2' bonuses are locked in for up to 9 years and can have the PAF element of their bonuses clawed back within three years of the issue date.

We asked Nomura about their bonuses. They declined to comment.