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London bankers' 2015 bonuses could shrink up to 9 per cent

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London investment bankers' bonuses for 2015 are likely to fall by up to 9 per cent on average from a year earlier after revenues slid in the second half of this year, a study said on Monday.

[LONDON] London investment bankers' bonuses for 2015 are likely to fall by up to 9 per cent on average from a year earlier after revenues slid in the second half of this year, a study said on Monday.

Emolument, which benchmarks salaries across the industry, said bonuses for traders and other staff in fixed income, commodities and currencies (FICC) were likely to fall about 9 per cent from payments made for 2014.

Bonuses in the advisory and underwriting division were likely to fall by 3-5 per cent from 2014, Emolument said, after a record year for merger and acquisitions was countered by a sharp fall in initial public offerings.

Equities traders and staff could buck the trend, however, and see a 2-3 per cent rise in bonuses after a recovery in volumes from a weak performance in 2014, the survey said.

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Revenues at investment banks are expected to fall 2 per cent from 2014, led by a drop in FICC trading income.

Bonuses typically reflect those trends, but banks including Deutsche Bank, Barclays and Credit Suisse are also under pressure to cut costs. New Deutsche Bank Chief Executive John Cryan said last month pay in the industry was still too high.

Bonus pools could also be cut where banks have paid misconduct fines, while some firms are increasing fixed pay to compensate for lower annual bonuses. "With ever more restricted bonus pools, it may be that doughnuts (zero bonuses) become more commonplace, as banks limit substantial bonus payments to key outperforming staff they simply cannot afford to lose," said Emolument's Alice Leguay.

Emolument based its forecasts on the correlation between bankers' bonuses and deal volumes for the last three years.

Bonuses for bankers, typically paid between January and March, remain high compared to other industries.

Emolument estimated a managing director in equities can expect to get a bonus of 361,000 pounds (S$762,852), while directors across the investment bank should get 114,000-151,000 pounds and associates can expect 28,000-32,000 pounds.

Pay on Wall Street is expected to follow a similar pattern to Europe. Pay consultancy Johnson Associates last month forecast bonuses in FICC will fall 10-20 per cent from a year ago and underwriting bonuses are likely to fall 5-15 per cent, while equities bonuses will be flat to up 10 per cent and bonuses on M&A desks should rise 15-20 per cent.

REUTERS

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