Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

The crafty yet brutal way bankers share bonus numbers

Bonus day can be very awkward. Some hit the jackpot, many are disappointed and others even get the dreaded zero-bonus, which means their time is likely numbered. But, as we’ve reported previously, it’s bad form to talk about your bonus. In fact, seniors recommend that you shouldn’t even show any emotion.

However, some junior bankers have discovered a way of determining where you stand without divulging anything personally. The genius is in its simplicity.

They go to a local watering hole for happy hour after receiving their bonus (rarely does anyone put in a long day. If you did well, you’re up for celebrating. If things went poorly, you’re likely drowning your sorrows and reworking your resume).

After a couple of beers, someone takes the reins and hands out small pieces of paper to everyone in the same group. This particular one was made up of M&A associates in the same vertical – around 20 of them.

Everyone writes their bonus down on the slip of paper and drops it into a hat that’s being passed around. No names, just numbers. Someone then reads them aloud, giving everyone an idea as to where they stand. The range of bonuses for these particular bankers was around $35,000, according to one attendee.

There was no real emotion, though you can imagine the top-paid banker likely forced back a smile while the worst performer began rethinking their choices. They called it a “hat drop,” though we’re told that’s not an industry cliché.

Was it worth it, getting to know where you’re ranked like some form of sport? Maybe not. The general consensus was: “Is doing this job worth it anymore?” said one employee who asked to keep the name of the bank anonymous. He no longer works in banking.

Perhaps ignorance is bliss.

author-card-avatar
AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor
  • be
    beechertuttle
    5 March 2015

    @Rambo $35k was the range (top to bottom), not the size of the bonus.

  • Ra
    Rambo
    4 March 2015

    35k average bonus? For real? I thought bankers make 300K bonuses

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs
Noah International 諾亞國際
New Business Specialist (Insurance)
Noah International 諾亞國際
Los Angeles, United States
State Street Corporation
Senior Software Engineer II, Charles River Development, AVP
State Street Corporation
Burlington, United States
State Street Corporation
IT Finance Analyst - Budget Planning and Tracking, AVP
State Street Corporation
Princeton, United States
State Street Corporation
Regulatory Exam Lead, Vice President
State Street Corporation
Boston, United States
Morgan Stanley
National Risk Officer
Morgan Stanley
San Francisco, United States
BNY  Mellon
Vice President, Controller
BNY Mellon
Lake Mary, United States

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.