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Many Brokerage Execs Don't Expect Bonuses

December 02, 2003|From Bloomberg News

A majority of Wall Street brokerage and financial advisory executives don't expect a bonus this year and most probably won't give employees a raise, according to a survey by consultants Wall Street Services Inc.

The survey, taken during the fourth quarter, polled 100 executives ranging from presidents to senior vice presidents at firms such as A.G. Edwards Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley. It found that 58% don't expect a bonus, up from 47% in the third quarter. The report also found that 59% don't expect to give their employees a raise.

Gains in stocks of brokerage firms together with the stock market's rebound this year had bolstered expectations for bonuses after cuts over the last years and the three-year slide in the market. The Amex Securities Broker/Dealer Index has gained 53% this year; Merrill Lynch, the biggest securities firm by capital, has gained 51%.

"The results of the survey were a big surprise," Peter Laughter, author of the report, said. "The increased attention on compensation and governance means there is heightened scrutiny on bonuses."

The securities industry employs 176,100 people in the state of New York, more than any other state in the U.S. That's down 19% from the peak in December 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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