Britain’s bankers expect bigger bonuses in 2013

PHOTO: Britain’s bankers expect bigger bonuses in 2013

LONDON - The majority of Britain's financial services workers expect to receive a bonus this year and 58 per cent expect the payout to be bigger than the year before, new research showed on Wednesday.

Almost a third of UK financial services workers see their 2013 bonuses growing by between 11 and 30 per cent, while 35 per cent predict an increase of up to 10 per cent, according to a survey by financial recruitment site eFinancialCareers.

Most respondents gave personal performance as the primary reason behind the potential bonus increase, the survey showed.

Bonuses - typically paid in February and March - can make up a big percentage of pay in the industry. They became a particularly thorny issue in Britain, where many believe generous compensation led to the excessive risk taking seen in the run-up to financial crisis.

The European Union has sought to deter such behaviour with new law that limits a bonus to no more than a banker's fixed salary, or twice that level with shareholder approval. It will apply to awards from performance in 2014 and onwards.

Critics including the British Treasury have argued the EU cap will simply push up bankers' fixed pay.

During last year's bonus season, some London bankers were braced for no bonus at all partly because of pressure by regulators and politicians on excessive pay in the finance sector in the wake of the financial crisis.

eFinancialCareers said more than half of the survey respondents said they would be paid more than last year, including base both salary and bonuses.

As well as the UK, eFinancialCareers surveyed financial services professionals in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, the United States and the Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar).

More than 80 per cent of those in Hong Kong and Germany expected to receive a bonus this year, compared around 70 per cent in Singapore and Australia and around 60 per cent in the US and the Middle East.

In all markets, a majority of those surveyed expected their bonus to increase.

James Bennett, global managing director of eFinancialCareers, said the survey results show that confidence in the industry was building but warned that bonus pay-outs still depend on there being a positive close to the year.

eFinancialCareers surveyed 1,010 UK financial services professionals. Globally, a total of 4,642 people responded to the survey.