US bankers most upbeat on bonus prospects

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Bankers in the U.S. feel the most upbeat among their peers globally about their bonus prospects for this year, according to a new survey.

The eFinancialCareers Bonus Expectations Survey polled 2,261 professionals working in the banking and finance industry in the U.S., U.K. and Singapore during September and October 2014. Sixty percent of respondents in the U.S. expect an increase in their bonus this year, compared with 56 percent in the U.K. and 42 percent in Singapore.

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"Bankers in the U.S. and the U.K. appear more optimistic this year. This is likely to be because the western markets were hit harder by the economic crisis," said George McFerran, director at careers website eFinancialCareers.

"Many firms in financial centers like London and New York saw their bonus pots reduce during that period and now they are recovering from a lower base than their counterparts in Asia," he said.

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The east-west expectations gap is also partly explained by the fact that a higher proportion of respondents in Asia work in the back or middle office, where bonuses tend to be lower, McFerran said.

Of those in the U.S. expecting an increase, the majority - or 35 percent - believe they will get a bonus that is 11-30 percent bigger compared with last year.

U.S.-based financial professionals were also the most optimistic about future size of bonuses.

Thirty four percent said they believe industry bonuses would increase over the next three years, compared with 26 percent in the U.K. and 22 percent in Singapore.