Here's when Wall Street's top banks will announce bonuses to employees

Here's when Wall Street's top banks will announce bonuses to employees
Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) celebrates beating the New York Giants after NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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  • With the books closed on 2019, the top US banks are set to announce year-end compensation.
  • Wall Street banks pay robust base salaries, but the annual bonus can be far more lucrative for top performers.
  • Business Insider spoke with insiders at the biggest banks to assemble a guide to the much-awaited bonus announcement season.
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With 2019 officially in the books, Wall Street's bonus season, always hotly anticipated, is upon us.

Bankers make comfortable six-figure salaries, but the year-end bonus is usually far more lucrative for top performers. It's not only a potentially giant lump sum of cash, but also an individual measuring stick and a way for firms to signal how much they value employees.

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Some industry experts are expecting a down year across investment banking, though fortunes vary by bank and division.

Compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates projected sales and trading bonus pools would decline 10% to 15% in equities and be flat to down 5% in fixed income compared with last year. Investment banking advisory is expected to be flat to up 5%.


Another executive recruiting and compensation expert painted a slightly rosier picture to Business Insider, saying the big five US banks would cut bonus pools only slightly in investment banking advisory and fixed-income trading, with some product areas seeing gains - like mergers and acquisitions as well as securitized products and credit trading. But they projected a drop of as much as 12% in equities, with cash trading fairing the worst.

Business Insider spoke with insiders familiar with bonus schedules at the big banks. Bonus dates have been known to change at the last moment, but here's when Wall Street's top banks are expected to announce compensation at this point:

  • Morgan Stanley this year is planning to reveal compensation before its quarterly earnings announcement, which is scheduled for January 16th. A source familiar with the plan said it'll happen the week of the 13th.
  • Citigroup typically begins communicating bonuses in the ensuing days after its board of directors meets to sign off on compensation and quarterly earnings results, according to people familiar with the matter. The board is set to meet on the 13th, with earnings to follow the next day and bonus announcements through the 16th, the people said.
  • Bank of America typically reports last of the big five. But multiple sources inside the firm said this year bonus announcements were pegged to start on the 17th.
  • Goldman Sachs starts communicating comp in the days after it reports quarterly earnings, with some senior personnel learning about their paycheck that day, sources said. Goldman will report earnings on the 15th this year.
  • JPMorgan Chase is expected to go last this year, revealing year-end compensation on the 21st - the Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The bonuses usually hit employees bank accounts a week or two after they are announced.

Representatives from each of the banks declined to comment for this story.

Europe's largest banks report earnings after the US banks and start announcing bonuses afterward as well, usually in early to mid-February.


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