Analyst bonuses - early indications

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Are bonuses higher, are they lower, or is it too soon to tell?

According to the US website Dealbreaker.com, Wall Street analysts are already au fait with their bonuses, which are generally better than imagined and eerily similar across all banks.

Dealbreaker's figures, sourced from an unspecified number of its readers, suggest first-year analysts at top-paying banks are in line for bonuses of around 55k this year. First-years at mid-paying banks are pocketing 50k and those at more frugal firms can expect 40k.

Who are the best payers? Suffice to say, there are a few of the usual suspects: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. According to the website's respondents, the likes of Bank of America, Citigroup and Deutsche fall into the mid-payer category; Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and UBS are rumoured to be among the less exuberant paymasters.

Logan Naidu, a consultant at recruitment firm Cornell Partnership, says early indications are that the figures hold roughly true in London. "Our initial understanding is that bonuses look pretty good across the board. They just can't afford to lose people right now."

However, another recruiter says the figures look spurious and that most analysts are still waiting to find out what their amounts will be.

Whatever the answer, there's new evidence (if any were needed) that analysts in investment banks are squeezed harder than their counterparts in other industries and deserve their pay. A study by the Managing Partners' Forum reported in yesterday's Times, found that MDs are better paid than anyone else in the City (what's new?) and that investment banks employ half the number of juniors (between three and five) per partner-level employee than accounting firms do.

Dealbreaker's bonus figures

Top-paying banks

Analyst, year 1: US$110k

Analyst, year 2: US$130k

Analyst, year 3: US$155k

Tier-two payers

Analyst, year 1: US$105k

Analyst, year 2: US$125k

Analyst, year 3: US$145k

Tier-three payers

Analyst, year 1: US$100k

Analyst, year 2: US$120k

Analyst, year 3: US$140k

Bottom scrapers

Analyst, year 1: US$90k

Analyst, year 2: US$110k

Analyst, year 3: US$130k

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