What could have been a big year in bonuses for credit derivatives professionals--because of the surge of activity in synthetic CDOs and plain-vanilla business--is shaping up to be only marginally better than 2000, according to recruiters and bankers. To add to the gloom, a higher proportion of total compensation is expected to be paid in shares.
"They should have had a bang up year, but they're going to have to subsidize other areas," said Deborah Rivera, president of The Succession Group in New York. "Enough has to be spread around to keep the whole machine going," she added. Jonathan Astbury, a recruiter at Astbury Jones in London, agrees that bonuses in credit derivatives likely will be flat, or marginally higher for this reason (see chart). Other market professionals, such as those in equity derivatives, face a 20-50% cut in their annual compensation (DW, 10/7).
Three of the largest Wall Street firms have just announced or will unveil bonuses this week. Goldman Sachs finalized its bonus payments Wednesday and Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley are expected to follow in the next few days. Goldman is thought to pay fat bonuses to senior staff while keeping the lid on payments to junior staff. For example Ron Tanemura, global head of credit derivatives at Goldman in New York, is believed to be on a minimum guaranteed bonus of USD5 million and will likely receive 10-20% on top of that, according to one recruiter. Spokesmen at MSDW, Lehman Brothers and Goldman declined comment. Tanemura did not return calls.