The big Nordic banks may be relatively well placed to ride out the eurozone waves battering some of their European counterparts but, it is very clear, they do not operate in a vacuum, and so bonuses this year are expected to remain tightly screwed down.
The sentiment emerging from Nordic banks in the final quarter of last year was that 2012 would definitely not be a year of largesse when it came to performance-related pay.
If anything, with banks forecasting the emergence of a leaner, more tightly regulated, financial services sector, the main “bonus” this year for many may simply be getting through the next 12 months with their job intact.
“Generally, the sense is that it is more job security that is the bigger issue right now,” explains one Nordic-following analyst.
A clearer picture is unlikely to emerge until the start of the full-year reporting season from the end of this month onwards, with Nordea the first to report on 24 January, but the feedback so far from recruiters is that continuing uncertainty over the eurozone and the current volatility of the sector will mean ongoing pressure on bonuses.
A further factor, of course, is that Nordic banks have, like many European banks, been re-weighting their remuneration away from variable pay anyway.
“The split between fixed and variable pay, which in the Nordics is much more skewed towards fixed remuneration, means that bonuses are generally becoming much less of an issue,” explains another analyst.
“Bonuses are not I think going to be dramatically different this year than they were last,” he adds.