Despite the economic decline plaguing most U.S. workers, many bankers and traders continue to be sanguine about prospects for their compensation. About half of respondents to a survey of about 2,100 U.S. bankers and traders expect their bonuses to increase this year compared with 2009.
Worse, although regulators and financial executives have repeatedly urged deferring at least part of bonuses to future years to discourage irresponsible corporate risk-taking, most employees expect none of their bonuses to be deferred.
Their optimism is well founded. According to a study by the Wall Street Journal, total Wall Street compensation will reach $144 billion for 2010, marking a record for the second consecutive year. It also appears that increases in compensation will far outpace increases in corporate revenues. The report says that according to a survey of 35 firms, pay in 2010 is expected to increase 4%, while annual revenue is forecasted to increase just 3%.