Optimists on Wall Street: Half See Bigger Bonuses This Year

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Half of the financial services staffers in the U.S. expect a higher bonus this year because the business fared better than in 2009. While personal (34 percent) and firm performance (33 percent) are the leading reasons, 9 percent say changing employers is the primary reason their bonus will increase. That's largely driven by front-office professionals who've switched firms.

That makes some sense, given that compensation is frequently a firm's primary retention tool. But 61 percent of Wall Street's professionals indicated that money, while important, isn't the most important reason they work in financial services. A little more than a third of (37 percent) say compensation is the most important reason they on the Street.

All this comes from the eFinancialCareers Global Bonus Expectations Survey.

Higher bonuses are anticipated with greater frequency by those toiling at bulge-bracket banks, long-only asset managers and boutique banks, compared to professionals at hedge funds, commercial banks, independent trading or research and professional services firms.

Global Comparison

Significantly more financial services professionals in Asia are expecting a bonus rise of some kind. In Hong Kong, 71 percent expect a bigger payout, along with 69 percent of those in Singapore. Likewise, 57 percent in the UK expect a higher bonus. Germany slightly trails the U.S., with 47 percent anticipating a bonus increase versus last year.

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