The most important day of the year on Wall Street is near

The most important day of the year on Wall Street — bonus day — is edging closer.

It is the day that banks announce to staff what they will receive for their work the previous year. Bonuses, not base salaries, are where bankers make their millions.

It looks like we’ll have the first couple banks telling staff their bonus numbers this week.

All the details below are from people with knowledge of the schedules at the banks. All asked not to be identified:

  • Morgan Stanley is expected to tell staff the all important number on Thursday.
  • Citigroup is expected to announce on Friday.
  • JPMorgan could announce in the middle of next week.
  • Goldman Sachs is set to go a day or two after that.
  • Bank of America is due to announce at the very end of January.

Representatives at all the banks declined to comment.

Banks tend to center their announcements around the time earnings are reported (those reports kick off Thursday), which means US banks typically announce in January and European banks announce in February.

The dates are provisional because bonus announcements and the sums involved can change until the very last minute.

This time last year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup had to revise their bonus pools down at the last minute after a weaker than expected final few weeks of 2014.

Still, it is clear that before long Wall Streeters will have an idea of how they’re going to be paid. That then leads to the annual hiring merry-go-round, with a number of bankers and traders quitting to join a rival shortly after their bonus (or at least some of it) lands in their bank account.

Wall Street seems to be pretty down on the bonus round this year.

This chart, based on data from a November survey by Wall Street recruitment firm Options Group, shows bonus expectations for top-performers.

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