Wall Street expected to see second year of declining bonuses: report

November 6, 2016 8:23 PM EST

People sit outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during the morning commute in New York City, U.S., September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid


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By Olivia Oran

(Reuters) - Wall Street bonuses are expected to fall for a second consecutive year, according to a closely watched report.

Mergers and acquisitions slowed this year, and companies delayed going public, which pressured bank fees. Increased regulation has also made trading less profitable for banks.

Overall year-end incentives, which include cash bonuses and equity awards, may decline on Wall Street across the board by 5 percent to 10 percent from last year, the report said.

"All signs are pointing to a disappointing end to an overall lackluster year on Wall Street,” said Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates, which conducted the study.

Investment bankers, who help companies raise debt and equity, may experience the biggest drop, with their bonuses falling 10 percent to 20 percent.

Equities traders may draw payouts that are 5 percent to 15 percent smaller, as investors shied away from trading stocks, which are generally viewed as riskier than bonds.

Debt traders will fare slightly better, with their bonuses expected to be down 10 percent to flat. Bond trading rebounded at most large banks during third quarter, reversing a slump that has plagued Wall Street for years.

Even mergers and acquisition bankers, who enjoyed a banner year for deals in 2015, could see bonuses that are 5 percent to 10 percent lower.

The only professionals on Wall Street who may see higher bonuses are retail and commercial bankers, with a flat to 5 percent rise.

Banks set aside around roughly 40 percent of revenue for employee pay and benefits, around the same as last year, Johnson Associates found.

Johnson said that 2017 could be another difficult year for bonuses, amid ongoing fee pressure and regulation.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)



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