More Than Half of Wall Street Says Bonuses Met Expectations

According to a survey conducted by eFinancialCareers.com last month, more than half of all Wall Street employees were satisfied or more than satisfied with their year-end bonuses, in comparison to their expectations.

Of the just-over one thousand (1,006 exactly) respondants to the email query, 45 percent said their bonuses met their expectations, while another 11 percent said that they received more than expected. However, 35 percent of those surveyed said they were disappointed with their payouts. About 9 percent of respondents said they had no expectations about their bonuses.

Of those 35 percent who were disappointed, about a third — 32 percent — said they received a larger bonus for 2010, and a larger portion of that group than last year reported salaries higher than $200,000, indicating that those with seniority may have felt more of a pinch this year than last.

Wall Street’s bonuses are meant to both maximize their employees’ output and to keep them happy enough to not seek work elsewhere. According to Constance Melrose, managing director of eFinancialCareers North America, “Firms loathe losing top performers, and approach every bonus season concerned that murmurs of dissatisfaction escalate.”

But many firms have been curtailing pay and finding ways to lower expenses in the face of shrinking revenues, and that means bonuses have been taking a hit. Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) cut compensation by as much as 30 percent for senior bankers, while many other firms provided bonuses in the form of stock and/or deferred payments.

The survey was conducted over two weeks, from January 2 to 16 and was culled from employees at hedge funds, asset management firms, and both investment and commercial banks. Both front office and support staff are represented by the survey, and all respondents had to have already been informed of their wages.

The group intends to do a follow-up survey for those who were informed after the initial period. One should note that, in a response survey such as this, the results can be somewhat skewed toward perspectives of those passionate enough to take the time to respond.

Here’s how Wall Street firms are reacting to the news:

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS): GS shares recently traded at $117.39, down $0.14, or 0.12%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $84.27 to $169.90. Volume today was 1,974,949 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 7,577,480 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 26.05, while trailing earnings are $4.51 per share.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS): MS shares recently traded at $20.36, up $0.05, or 0.25%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $11.58 to $31.04. Volume today was 14,271,721 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 29,949,000 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 16.65, while trailing earnings are $1.23 per share.

Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE:C): C shares recently traded at $33.12, down $0.42, or 1.25%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $21.40 to $49.60. Volume today was 18,938,029 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 52,655,800 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 8.97, while trailing earnings are $3.69 per share.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM): JPM shares recently traded at $38.08, down $0.2, or 0.52%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $27.85 to $48.36. Volume today was 12,911,544 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 37,710,700 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 8.50, while trailing earnings are $4.48 per share.

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC): BAC shares recently traded at $7.87, up $0.03, or 0.38%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $4.92 to $14.95. Volume today was 124,695,739 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 270,837,000 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 785.50, while trailing earnings are $0.01 per share.

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC): WFC shares recently traded at $30.20, down $0.43, or 1.4%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $22.58 to $34.25. Volume today was 8,819,874 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 32,396,200 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 10.71, while trailing earnings are $2.82 per share.

Lazard Ltd. (NYSE:LAZ): LAZ shares recently traded at $27.53, down $1.36, or 4.71%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $19.04 to $46.54. Volume today was 1,296,751 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 799,621 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 12.87, while trailing earnings are $2.15 per share.

Credit Suisse Group (NYSE:CS): CS shares recently traded at $27.48, down $0.48, or 1.72%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $21.18 to $47.63. Volume today was 929,658 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 2,446,400 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 9.93, while trailing earnings are $2.77 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morris at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com