Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Wall Streeters Worry About Bonuses

Bankers Bonus

As the days grow shorter, Wall Street brokers, bankers and traders typically begin to anticipate their bank accounts growing fatter.

Bonus season is approaching.

But this year there is a lot of worry. In particular, rumors are spreading that some firms may eliminate bonuses altogether. And you’ll be surprised to hear at least one of the names that people are talking about.

“Chatter going around our offices—no bonuses at UBS or GS [Goldman Sachs] ,” one person at a rival firm wrote to me.

Of course, none of this is substantiated. But one person I emailed about it was so anxious that she asked me not to email her during the work day—even on her personal account.

The UBS bonus story might not be entirely bogus. The Swiss bank is reeling from losses caused by a rogue trader. It’s at least plausible that the bonus pool will take a serious hit.

But zero bonuses at Goldman Sachs? That would be an earthquake on Wall Street—disrupting every known law of the financial universe.

“If bonuses go to zero at Goldman, America has failed,” one Wall Streeter joked when I asked him about the possibility.

A spokesman for Goldman was not immediately available to decline to comment on unsubstantiated trader-generated rumors.

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