Half of bankers in UK, US see bonuses rise: survey

By Reuters
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:23 EDT
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Half of bankers in Britain and the United States have received a higher bonus for 2010 than the year before, despite sluggish investment banking performances, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

The survey by Efinancialcareers, a career website network for financial workers, said 49 percent of bankers in Britain had seen a rise in bonuses and only a quarter had seen a fall.

In the United States, 56 percent of those surveyed said their bonuses were larger this year and 19 percent said they had fallen. The average U.S. bonus was down 5 percent, however.

Some 59 percent of bankers surveyed in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia had seen an increase in their bonus, while 16 percent had seen a decrease.

Bankers’ pay has come under intense scrutiny after a political and public backlash following the financial crisis, when many lenders had to be bailed out by taxpayers.

The British government said on Tuesday it was still seeking an agreement with banks to curb bonuses and boost lending despite reports that the talks had stalled. The issue is sensitive because the state has large stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group after bailing them out and big bonuses enrage taxpayers.

However banks have been fighting to maintain competitive bonus packages for staff, arguing that otherwise some banks might relocate overseas where they could face less regulatory pressure.

Efinancialcareers said the survey was conducted this month and was based on 2,511 respondents who had had their awards revealed to them.

The scrutiny on bonuses is particularly intense in Britain, where the average bonus for UK front office professionals was 84,409 pounds ($135,000), up 5 percent on the year, the survey said.

(Editing by David Holmes)

($1=.6252 Pound)

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