Wanting to resign but firm has 100% Clawback on YE bonus (based on last yr perf.)

I've been working in the industry for about 3 years now. Most of what I read here is US focused. I work in Europe (won't be too specific) and they seem to have adapted some of the traditional rules from Wall Street and exaggerated them. 

I want to resign but my notice period is 6 months. Meaning that if I quit now, in January. I will firstly have to wait until the 1st of February, and then wait another 6 months before I can start somewhere else. Meaning I'll be free from my current contract on the 1st of August.  

Clawbacks here are also crazy. If I resign anytime up before the the last day of this year, I would have to pay back 100% of my bonus paid out this year. The bonus paid out this year, is based on my performance from last year. How is that even fair? 

I really want to resign, but I'm wondering how to navigate this situation. I read about people advising each other to "wait until the money hits the account", but our bonus has the stipulation written on it. "Should you quit before YE, you will have to pay back 100% of the bonus that is based on your performance for last year".

I haven't really spoken to anyone at the firm about it. They all seem to jump from firm to firm, and the other firm usually pays your YE bonus as a signing bonus to continue the retention. 

My current strategy it so quit, and tell the firm that I've signed on with someone else. Hopefully they'll put me on garden leave, so then I won't have to work for them for another 6 months while still getting paid. Does this sound stupid? How would you guys play it out. 

Comments (9)

  • PM in HF - Macro
Jan 15, 2022 - 11:16pm

Makes sense, either way you have to get out of there sooner or later 

Funniest
Jan 16, 2022 - 2:19am
Hölder, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Six month notice? Jesus Christ is your bank a plantation? Do slaves have to give 6 months notice before switching plantation? Fucking hell. Here I have to give 2 week notices and I hate every single second of those 2 weeks. But six months? That would basically, from emotional stress alone, mean I can't ever quit and I'm a slave to the bank. Hopefully you find a better owner.

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Jan 16, 2022 - 2:34am

https://www.foxwilliams.com/2016/10/03/clawing-back-bonuses-when-is-it-enforceable/

https://www.cm-murray.com/knowledge/claw-back-in-the-uk-trends-legal-issues-and-design/

I only briefly browsed the above but I'd suggest speaking to lawyer, this seems illegal / unenforceable. What if your contract said you had to donate a kidney upon leaving? Doubt they could enforce it but speak to lawyer.

Most Helpful
Jan 16, 2022 - 4:48am
McDog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Notice periods are often negotiable, so the full 6 months may not be enforced if you play it right with HR and your manager. Might even be softer if you leave for a client firm (could also be the case with clawbacks but don't take my word for it). Agree that 6mo is insane but I hear that this is spreading across my geography now. 
 

Regarding your clawback you always lateral to another shop with softer rules, have the new shop buy you out and then quit at a later stage (or stay until year-end if you get a sick bonus for 2021). You could also take the hit now and cut your losses before your bonus becomes even bigger and the golden handcuffs grow.

Jan 16, 2022 - 9:01am
MilkensToupee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the replies. 

I agree with the general consensus. I worked my ass off to get this job, and I guess I was blindsided by the prestige when I signed the contract about 2.5 years ago fresh out of school. 

I'm pretty sure that my terms are different from some of my colleagues. We have had an enormous amount of turnover in our section (think 60-70%, small sub-group) and I know that some of my colleagues had notice period of 3 months max. Therefore I'll try to look into what [scandi_banker] mentioned in terms of negotiating the notice.

Either way, If I decide to bluff and tell them that I'm going to a competitor and they put me on a 6 month garden leave, that would almost be better. I feel like I need to re-charge and get back to my old mental state as these last couple of months have been extremely draining. I have no problem working hard, but the perception (and later the realisation) that somebody is taking advantage of you quickly makes you feel worthless. 

Bonuses are informed in early February, and are paid out in March. The stipulation of the clawback says right there when you sign to get the payment, I'll try to challenge it, but I have mentally just prepared myself to not live with the extra payout. I'm trying to think about ways to approach my manager about this, might just try to get it done as quickly as possible. 

Renegade criminal from the late 90s. Don’t tell Mike I’m here
  • 2
Jan 18, 2022 - 6:50am
MilkensToupee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Unfortunately its not, but I'd appreciate a PM if you have some insight or advice to share. It might be hard to apply for me if its firm specific, but anything general is greatly appreciated. I'm not UK based, I can say that much. 

Renegade criminal from the late 90s. Don’t tell Mike I’m here
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 19, 2022 - 7:29pm

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