Bankers, traders poised for biggest bonuses since the financial crisis

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Goldman Sachs Group, for example, has already posted enough revenue through September to give the firm its best year ever. Rival JPMorgan Chase & Co’s revenue haul for the first nine months of the year was the highest it’s ever been for that period.

Ever-longer hours have been a theme throughout the pandemic, particularly in investment banking as global transaction values soared to a record. That means that investment bankers pull in about half as much per hour as traders given how much more they work, according to a salary survey from eFinancialCareers.

But banks showed restraint last year when setting year-end bonuses, wary of doling out higher rewards in a pandemic. Now as a second bumper year comes to a close, expectations across Wall Street are high, according to Mike Karp, chief executive officer of recruiting firm Options Group, which plans to release its own compensation report.

“People are expecting Santa will bring a big paycheck in their stocking this year,” Karp said in an interview. “But reality is different than perception and some stockings won’t be as heavy.”

Options Group also predicts compensation will increase for most businesses. Within equity trading, equity-derivatives and prime-finance traders will likely see the biggest jumps — both more than 20 per cent from a year earlier — while cash-equities traders could see a 16 per cent gain.

On the fixed-income side, commodities, credit and securitised-products traders will see single-digit increases while rates, foreign-exchange and emerging-markets traders will see compensation fall more than 7 per cent, Options Group estimates.