Even as they emerge from the post-financial-crisis haze, bankers are seeing few signs that their institutions — and their bonuses — will stage a full recovery anytime soon.
Bonuses in the financial industry this year are expected to fall 5 to 10 percent, according to an annual report being released Monday morning by the compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates. It is the first year since 2011 that compensation for the industry as a whole is expected to drop.
There are still a few bright spots, including private equity and mergers-and-acquisition work, but most of the largest segments of the industry are struggling. End-of-year compensation in investment and commercial banking has been falling steadily and this year will be down 30 percent from 2009 levels, the Johnson Associates report predicts. Even asset management, a part of the industry that has been doing better, will experience a 5 percent drop in bonuses this year.
Alan Johnson, founder of Johnson Associates, said many in the industry had been anticipating a rebound. This year, though, those hopes have been fading.
"We kept expecting next year will be the year," he said. "And it hasn't really happened — and I don't see it for the next three to five years." He added, "It's hard to see the swell of demand that will bail us out here."
Finance is still one of the most generously compensated industries in the world. The average securities industry bonus last year was $172,860, according to the New York State comptroller's office.