London bankers fear bonus "donuts" to double

Monday 21 January 2013 18.25
22% of London bankers not expecting any bonus for 2012
22% of London bankers not expecting any bonus for 2012

Twice as many London bankers fear the dreaded "donut", or zero bonus, in the current pay season compared to a year ago, according to a new survey.

Financial services recruitment firm Astbury Marsden said a poll of bankers in London showed 22% are not expecting a bonus of any kind from pay awards covering 2012 performance.

This compares to 11% a year ago.

Regulators and politicians are taking a harder line on excessive pay, and Astbury Marsden said 44% of those polled cited that pressure as negatively impacting their pay.

Banks including Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Goldman Sachs are also keen to cut costs in a tough environment and show they have learned lessons from the past, which is also putting pressure on pay.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicts bonuses for 2012 in London's financial sector will more than halve to £1.6 billion sterling from last year, and will keep falling until 2015.

Bonuses - typically paid in February and March - will be down 86% from the record £11.5 billion paid out in 2007/08, the CEBR said. Bonuses still make up a big percentage of pay in the industry, and managing directors expected them to be worth 88% of their base salary.

Almost half of those surveyed said they would look to change employer if they were unhappy with their bonus, the number of those who would look to move overseas fell to 14%, half the level of two years ago.

A separate survey released today said a third of London financial workers expect their base pay to rise in 2013, as firms try to attract and retain the best talent.

Recruitment firm Morgan McKinley said 57% of financial workers it polled expected compensation to remain relatively flat this year and 33% expected a pay rise of up to 10%. Half of those expecting an increase cited firms' need to attract and retain the best talent as the main reason.

Morgan McKinley said there was a 36% drop in registered job vacancies in financial services in December from the previous month to 1,323 positions, down 24% from a year earlier. It said it expects a pick up this month, as a seasonal slowdown in December was compounded by some banks postponing hiring until the new year.