Bankers Threaten to Walk, Sue Over Bonus

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,129

Ahhhh....bonus season. What used to be the best time of year has become a stressful nightmare since 2008. Bonus pools have been steadily shrinking, and black swan events like the rogue trader at UBS even have some banks rolling a donut. What's a banker to do? If you're a senior guy at Jeffries, apparently you threaten a walkout if your bonus isn't up to snuff.

I've actually seen this happen once in my career, and it was effective. But in order for it to work, the entire office had to walk out, and it was the #3 office in the firm. The walkout so hobbled the firm that the firm was acquired by a competitor less than a year later. But do firms today take the threat seriously? I doubt it. Still, if you're brave enough to make some waves before the bonus numbers are released, it might work in your favor.

"The really successful battles come before the pie is cut up, when you convince the boss to move the knife and give you a wider slice," says Alan Sklover, a compensation lawyer who represents CEOs and bankers. "Banks don't care about the reward, they care about retention. If you're good and you make them money, they'll do almost anything to keep you."

I think the broader and more interesting question is how much longer will the bonus system be in place? Seriously. How long before banking, at least at the junior levels, becomes a straight salaried gig? We all know it's headed that way.

I always worked in P&L-driven capacities, so you pretty much knew what you were getting and there were no real surprises. I can't imagine what it would be like to work in an area of the bank where bonus comp was so much more subjective and I had to worry about some back office mongoloid going rogue and wiping out the entire bonus pool. I guess that's reason #1,357 that I'm glad I got out when I did.

So what do you guys think about walking out or suing the firm over a shitty bonus? Should you just be so happy to have a job that you shut up and take it? How much longer do you think the bonus system will even be in place? What would you do if you rolled the dreaded donut because someone else at your firm screwed the pooch?

Comments (122)

Jan 9, 2012
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I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

Go Bucks!!

Jan 9, 2012
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Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Jan 9, 2012
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My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Jan 9, 2012
Jan 9, 2012
Jan 9, 2012
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Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Jan 9, 2012
Jan 9, 2012
Comment

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Jan 9, 2012
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'We're bigger than U.S. Steel"

Jan 9, 2012
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"I want what all men want, I just want it more." -Achilles

Jan 10, 2012
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If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jan 10, 2012
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I rich, smarts, and totally in debt.

Jan 10, 2012
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Jan 11, 2012
Jan 11, 2012
Jan 11, 2012
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"One should recognize reality even when one doesn't like it, indeed, especially when one doesn't like it." - Charlie Munger

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Jan 28, 2012

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