This bonus season is shaping up to be another underwhelming one for bankers on Wall Street as lackluster deal activity pushes down the closely watched annual payouts.

The bonuses that some bankers are getting are flat or down from what they received a year earlier, bank employees and recruiters said. Investment-banking bonuses have fallen as much as 25% so far, according to Johnson Associates, a Wall Street compensation consultant. And those payments are down from what already qualified as an underwhelming bonus season a year ago…

“It’s disappointing,” said Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates. “Everyone was hoping for a business rebound.”

Johnson Associates estimates that some traders are up slightly, while many others are down 5% to 10%—in line with the firm’s November forecasts. Bonuses to investment managers are falling into a similar range.

The Wall Street Journal / January 28, 2024