'Sprinkle bonuses' - the new thing for elite investment banking juniors

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Junior bankers are not happy with their bonuses. Despite a 20% increase in salaries over the past year, disappointing bonuses for analysts and associates have caused some disgruntlement.

A small proportion should be immune to this resentment though: the very, very best analysts and associates are being given a new thing – ‘sprinkle bonuses’ equivalent to up to 20% of their salaries.

Headhunters suggest that these bonuses are handed out to exceptional individuals deemed likely to quit for private equity, hedge funds, or fintech.

“These are high-performing, but high potential individuals that the bank has identified as being a flight risk,” says one headhunter who declined to be named. “By their nature, they’re an exception, but a select band of analysts and associates are receiving them.”

Research by Morgan Mckinley suggested that 83% of young people in the City are not happy this year’s bonus and that 25% are considering quitting as a result. Juniors in IBD can expect £77-109k ($112-159k) on average, and 30% have received (another) salary increase to compensate for a smaller bonus.

Meanwhile, research by Emolument and Financial News suggests that 65% of analysts are either unhappy with or ambivalent about their bonuses for last year.

Not all disgruntled bankers are able to to extract concessions. Some banks have been letting them go as they pare back headcount.

And yet attempts continue to keep top juniors onside. Banks like Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS have all been fast-tracking analysts, while most have made efforts to cut working hours. . “It’s not over the top, but high-fliers in the City are being given secondments to U.S., or banks are bringing top people from Continental Europe across to the UK,” says Andy Pringle, director of recruiters Circle Square Talent. “Top performers have generally seen bonuses up by 10%.”

Photo: Christopher Robbins/DigitalVision/Thinkstock

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