And they said times were good.
Bloomberg has a story this morning sure to bug bankers and traders (and probably inspire eye-rolls from every other profession) about this upcoming bonus season.
It may not be that great. Bloomberg’s Michael J. Moore and Zeke Faux report:
Rising revenue at many banks is stoking employees’ hopes for larger bonuses, after year-end payouts were cut in the wake of the financial crisis and packed with restricted stock, which vests over time. Firms instead are preparing to shrink compensation for individuals amid investor pressure to improve return on equity. The measure of profitability stands at 10 per cent or lower at each of the five biggest Wall Street banks – – less than half the levels that preceded the credit crisis.
For example, “Goldman Sachs, along with the investment-banking divisions of six of its biggest U.S. and European rivals, allocated a collective 39 per cent of revenue for compensation in the first nine months, down from 42 per cent a year earlier and the 50 per cent some firms earmarked before the financial crisis,” according to the report. “Goldman Sachs’s 41 per cent ratio so far this year is its lowest nine-month figure as a public company.”
But Goldman’s Gary Cohn told Bloomberg’s Stephanie Ruhle that bonuses will probably depend on fourth quarter revenue, a period of time he’s “cautiously optimistic” about.
“At Goldman Sachs, if we don’t have a good fourth quarter, bonuses will be down, because the one thing we have done and have committed to our shareholders is that our bonus payments will be directly correlated to our revenue,” he said.