Cancelled Bonuses

Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A

My firm announced that bonuses are cancelled for 2020 (MM). I'm sure a lot of firms won't come right out and make the announcement, more of a surprise come bonus time when you don't get paid but is anyone else out there hearing rumblings at their firm about the same?

Comments (134)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

And so it begins...

Most Helpful
Apr 7, 2020

Nobody should be expecting a bonus in 2020. If that changes your comp calculus, then you should decide what you plan to do about that.

The "bonus" for this year is continued employment in 2021.

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Apr 7, 2020

Why does this have MS? this is 10000% accurate

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Controversial
  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

Because it doesn't add anything to the conversation. Everyone already knows bonuses probably won't happen this year and we're lucky enough to still have jobs. The question was whether or not anyone else had gotten the news not for captain obvious over here to stand up and be useless.

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Apr 9, 2020

??? VAST VAST majority of banks will be paying juniors bonuses, albeit very likely low (comparatively).

Hard time believing any EB or BB, and I gotta say basically all major MMs, would give a firmwide "bonus cancelation"

Frankly OP, find a new place to work when you can

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  • Associate 3 in IB - Gen
Apr 7, 2020

They cancelled analyst bonuses? Or more specifically, did the announcement extend to the analysts? I'm not one, but given you could pay like 10 analysts with 1 MD bonus, I didn't think they'd cut them to zero.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

All bonuses are cancelled. Everyone.

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  • Associate 3 in IB - Gen
Apr 7, 2020

Sorry to hear - I expect your bank won't be the only one in that boat then...

Apr 7, 2020

Jesus. I'd be so pissed.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Apr 7, 2020

Damn that sucks - sorry. Just to clarify, was it this year's payout (i.e. 2019 performance related) that is cancelled or the bonus related to this year's performance (2021 payout)? Feels a bit harsh if they were to cancel previously announced bonuses, during payout season

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

19-20 performance bonuses, our bonus timing is weird. Closing deals still but obviously not going to be as many as projected so if the pool isn't there not much we can do. Still employed for now so that's a plus.

  • Analyst 3+ in HF - Other
Apr 7, 2020

This seems like weird timing. Why would you tell people this in advance? The ideal time to tell people firmwide bonuses are zero is on comp discussion day at year end.

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  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

Definitely agree. I figured it would happen but why they are actually announcing it so early is beyond me.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Apr 7, 2020

Honestly, this is very abnormal and not really logical. My guess is that this MM was not performing well to begin with and having the excuse of coronavirus gives them an "out" to cut pay- its a really shitty thing to do, especially because its so early so they have been waiting for an opportunity to break the news to you guys. I have spoken with VP-ED level at BB banks and they say that bonuses will be discounted this year, but there's no such thing as canceling the bonus at least for the BB banks. Sorry to hear this at your MM though

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  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

Been performing fine, we have monthly calls across the firm to discuss pipeline, deals closing and where we are with budget targets so we were definitely on track with no issues but they decided to make the call so it is what it is.

Apr 7, 2020

I'd be surprised if this happened across a lot of banks, but who knows anymore. I expect a pretty small bonus, but not nothing (we did do a deals in Q1 after all...). If your firm doesn't have a big levfin / rx practice then this year might be tough...since it'll be a slow year for M&A and IPOs until the market settles.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

Restructuring has had their foot on the gas lately so if there is a true slowdown for some of us M&A folks we'll probably be shuffled around where needed. I'm closing a deal now so it really does't make sense for a call like this on bonuses so early but when the firm starts bleeding talent they may have to rethink their decision. I'm still getting inbound interest from firms trying to poach me so I just might start taking their calls.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

Good for you man. I hope to be in a position like this when I start and if things fall to shit I still have options

  • Prospect in CorpDev
Apr 7, 2020

Thanks for sharing this info. Based on this post and some of your previous comments, I think I'm set to start full-time at your bank this summer. Any visibility on what they plan to do for outstanding FT offers?

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

No visibility on that yet but to be honest the situation is so fluid across the economy right now any bank can have the intention to honor offers but make a last minute call to cut or cancel incoming hires. Best of luck to you.

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

I am pretty sure it is William Blair as my Analyst Friend just wrote me desperately

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Funniest
Apr 7, 2020

Lol why does this seem like something out of like Pride and Prejudice or some shit like that.

"Did you hear which one of the neighborhood boys won't be making it back from the war?"

"I am pretty sure it is William Blair as my gentleman friend just wrote me desperately"

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Apr 7, 2020

just finished watching pride and prejudice and found this way too accurate and funny.

Apr 8, 2020

My dearest Penguin,

It is with great trepidation that I write to you now, in my darkest hour of need. My dreams have been troubled as of late; I am afeared that my discretionary bonus, once promised by the honourable William Blair, may never come to pass.

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 7, 2020

Can anyone confirm this? worried if its true here it will affect other MM places as Blair is one of the trendsetters in the space.

also do people see this as a bad omen for SA positions? once again, I fear that if Blair cancels their summer program then lots of other MM places (my future firm included) will also cancel.

Apr 8, 2020

Blair has not indicated they will cancel their programm at all. They are exploring virtual options, and at this point have not made any official changes to the program.

As many others have emphasized before, summer interns are cheap and they need to maintain their future talent pipeline. Remember, there is still 2 full years before summer interns even receive their first full-time bonus, and a lot can change by then

Array

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 8, 2020

William Blair pays a stay bonus to analysts at their 2 year mark to incentivize them to finish their 2 years after they get their big bonus in February. If you stay until the 2.5 year mark that stay bonus is taken out of your bonus (it's essentially an advance on your bonus). The firm announced last week they wouldn't be paying that bonus to 2nd years, but they didn't say anything about the full bonuses in Feb 2021

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

how can bankers afford their expensive apartments and live the lavish life ?? is this really bad? because bonuses could be like 50% of all in comp on a year over year basis historically

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Apr 7, 2020

Wow. Nobody should be working 80 hours a week for their base.

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Apr 8, 2020

Agreed.

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

Can confirm this firm isn't Blair. This post is about BMO. Source: current analyst

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 7, 2020

Can confirm - BMO sent out the email a few hours ago.

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  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

Not BMO but looks like my bank isn't the only one.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 7, 2020

Do you know how this will affect the bonuses of incoming first year analysts?

Apr 8, 2020

It's Baird everyone.

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Apr 8, 2020

Definitely not Blair. Bonuses are paid out in Jan / Feb...

Apr 8, 2020

Can confirm it's not BMO
source: Current Analyst

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  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 8, 2020

If it is BMO I wouldn't be surprised - they handed out TO FT's like candy last summer to the point some FT's received late start dates. Maybe trying to avoid mass layoffs or at least minimize them.

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Apr 9, 2020

Do you know if this affects BMO coporate banking bonus too? Or just IBD?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 7, 2020

what the fuck? this is non sense. banks are the only single institution that has been making tons of money off of this crisis. clients requests are flooding. if you get zero bonuses it means your bank wasn't performing during the whole year, not this now. that's if it is for 2019. if it is for this year, I think think it is irrational, they are making money and people are working in a pandemic. you need to know what other banks are doing because I think this is BS.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 8, 2020

Lol, simmer down. Must be your first recession.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 8, 2020

enlighten me. and also how old are you

Apr 8, 2020

I think there is a chance that this firm (and others) might be trying to deaden the blow of potential layoffs. I think a lot of banks will be cutting headcount in the next 12 months. By announcing early that "bonuses are cancelled due to lack of hustle, deal with it", there will be more organic attrition between now and year end. Bankers who were planning to leave after one more payday don't need to grind it out for another 9 months. Then, at the end of the FY, they can lay off 4% instead of 8% or whatever.

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  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 8, 2020

Spot on. Firm is doing everything to prevent layoffs right now including partners taking massive pay cuts but of course layoffs could still happen but it's best to let the herd thin itself first. If things get back to normal there is obviously ample time to reinstitute bonuses but I think a lot of banks will do this they just aren't announcing it yet.

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Apr 8, 2020

It's tough/tight for analysts I'll agree but if you didn't leave beyond your means you should be ok / lucky to have the job with such low activity right now. $150K-250K translates to $7-12k in net cash pay for most associates and VPs. If you rented Apts that cost more than 3-4K It's on you. Even for analysts, your monthly paycheck should be $4.5-5k. After $2k in rent, $500 in groceries and max $1k in student loans you shouldn't be going broke. Def not over the FL workers w
$265/wk unemployment (ok $600 more now)

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Apr 8, 2020

Who is this firm? Roths (given comment on restructuring)?

Array

Apr 8, 2020

Gotta be Houlihan

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Apr 8, 2020

Strong suggestion of HL based on mentioning of restructuring practice. Shocked that so many posters think this could be BMO, Baird, or Blair considering these firms don't have restructuring practices. Then again, this is WSO after all...

Interesting mention of KPMG below given the absurdity of making this kind of announcement at this time.

Meh. What do I know.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Apr 8, 2020

Aren't there some banks that pay out bonuses in February / March? They got so lucky...

Apr 8, 2020

that's for the prior year, dude. they will unfortunately feel the effects of this in next year's bonus, although perhaps less so if this thing is in the rearview mirror by then and the job market is heating up (forcing their banks to pay more than they would for a bad year of performance, just to retain people)

Apr 9, 2020

p sure blair paid jan/feb so idk why people are dropping their name here...

Apr 10, 2020

Baird pays in February

Apr 8, 2020

Can someone confirm the bank?

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  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 8, 2020

Well it's my post so I'm the only one who can confirm the bank and I'm not going to do that. This was meant to be a discussion to see who else might be getting hit, not who done it.

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 8, 2020

Wow you're so helpful, what would WSO do without you!

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Apr 8, 2020

You getting MS for not wanting to name your bank shows how all of these "Prospects" have infected this site.

Array

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  • Prospect in CorpDev
Apr 8, 2020

Either KPMG or Houlihan

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Apr 8, 2020

"Top MM" -> gotta be Houlihan then if those are the only 2 options.

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  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 8, 2020

From what I've read KPMG UK has been making cuts but haven't come across anything for the US yet, are they making cuts across the board?

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 8, 2020

No way this is HL. They have one of the best restructuring practices around and the entire RX department would leave tomorrow if they got no bonuses this year. Any bank on the street would love to hire the HL restructuring team so there is no chance they will not be getting bonuses or else they would all lateral to Moelis/Evercore/etc tomorrow. KPMG makes way more sense (and for everyone else on this forum freaking out, KPMG is very different from your average bank so don't go crazy yet).

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Restr
Apr 10, 2020

Can confirm it is not HL, at least with regards to their restructuring practice

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 8, 2020

Well it's my post so I'm the only one who can confirm the bank and I'm not going to do that. This was meant to be a discussion to see who else might be getting hit, not who done it.

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Apr 8, 2020

Could've just posted anonymously and let everyone know instead of all this speculation.

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Apr 8, 2020

Confirmed it is KPMG - I confirmed with a friend in the UK.

Apparently the wording is 'significantly reduced or in worst case no bonuses this year' or similar.

That solves that one.

Array

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 9, 2020

$0.02 from someone who works at KPMG CF. Confirmed our bonuses were cut but not sure OP works there. Sure seems like KPMG but OP made a comment about FT offers which makes me think otherwise. We don't have an analyst or intern program, hiring is done more on an ad hoc as needed basis so we don't have "incoming analysts" as most banks do. Could be KPMG but that comment kind of stood out to me.

Apr 10, 2020

I was on the conference call this week

Confirmed there was such an announcement, but they didn't explicitly say zero - they were just managing expectations that "variable pay will be reduced, and partners will bear the brunt of this"

I would still expect to get something personally given I am going to be very busy through the rest of the performance year

I also found it hilarious that the restructuring partner was saying business is booming and they are looking to grow restructuring as a service line with international offices. The TS partner then said they expect the economy to bounce back and everything to go back to normal

Those two sound mutually exclusive to me...

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  • Intern in Other
Apr 8, 2020

Nope, it's Tesla!

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Apr 10, 2020

Nope, it's just Chuck Testa.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 8, 2020

West coast IBD - bonuses will be flat

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 8, 2020

As in same % as last year? That's pretty good news all things considered. Is this at a BB/EB/MM?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 8, 2020

MM

Apr 9, 2020

Makes sense to cancel the bonuses but MDs out there also need to take their foot off the gas pedal.

If there is nothing actionable right now and your team isn't getting bonuses, don't work them 80 hours a week in the middle of this shitstorm.....and I know for a fact that a lot of this BS is going on. MDs are freaking out and pitching tons of 1 in a million chance deals and keeping guys up all night on totally unactionable pitches.

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Apr 9, 2020
NoEquityResearch:

Makes sense to cancel the bonuses but MDs out there also need to take their foot off the gas pedal.

If there is nothing actionable right now and your team isn't getting bonuses, don't work them 80 hours a week in the middle of this shitstorm.....and I know for a fact that a lot of this BS is going on. MDs are freaking out and pitching tons of 1 in a million chance deals and keeping guys up all night on totally unactionable pitches.

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Apr 9, 2020
NoEquityResearch:

Makes sense to cancel the bonuses but MDs out there also need to take their foot off the gas pedal.

If there is nothing actionable right now and your team isn't getting bonuses, don't work them 80 hours a week in the middle of this shitstorm.....and I know for a fact that a lot of this BS is going on. MDs are freaking out and pitching tons of 1 in a million chance deals and keeping guys up all night on totally unactionable pitches.

They don't care about you, or me.

But they do want to look like a hero.

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Apr 9, 2020

If I was positioning myself as a growing bank I would for sure keep bonuses strong at the Junior level.

I'll get some MS for this, but I strongly believe in compensation based placement of talent into competing labor markets. if you're smart/dedicated enough to land IB without family connects, you can def do the same in tech.

I'm sure some kids who positioned themselves to make bank early on are kicking themselves, but what can you do.

Mostly I feel bad for all the kids signing FT offers that aren't going to get jack squat in signing bonuses. Before this shit all happened kids were taking in 75k+ in signing.

Apr 9, 2020

Is it safe to say none of us are getting raises this summer?

Apr 10, 2020

My boutique postponed 2019 bonuses and has already laid off 20-40% of the staff unfortunately..

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Apr 10, 2020

If your boutique was caught so unprepared that they even had to mess with your 2019 bonus, then they are doing you a favor by laying you off!

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Apr 10, 2020

We were growing fast and had hired for our pipeline not expecting a downturn so yeah just bad timing. I was lucky to not get cut thankfully

Apr 10, 2020

can't imagine this is gonna be common whatsoever. if it really is KPMG it's not at all surprising. rx, dcm, and levfin groups getting zeroed out would not fly given the dealflow

Apr 10, 2020

To be perfectly blunt, shouldnt y'all just be happy you still have a job/havent been laid off instead of wondering if bonuses are still being handed out?

Apr 10, 2020

@NudnikShpilkes why are you making all your posts anonymous? FYI he's OP and is "Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A"

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Apr 10, 2020

I'll be honest that nobody has told me that I won't be getting a bonus this year. Then again, I'm not working so that might have something to do with it.

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Apr 11, 2020

Are you still working and is your desk still trading or making deals right now? I can understand this if everyone is at home and not trading or making deals.

I work at a large bank, some are still going to the office or working from home. We are still trading and expect bonuses, day to day volumes are down but we're still on target thus far mostly thanks to good trades made during the dip.

Apr 11, 2020

My $1200 cheque just came in, has yours?

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Apr 11, 2020

It seems insane to cut junior bonuses unless a firm is truly on the brink of insolvency, there is a promise to make it up somehow down the road, or time demands are drastically cut. No one should be working 80-100hrs/wk for banking base salaries and a name on a resume.

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  • Analyst 1 in CorpFin
Apr 12, 2020

Hear what you're saying but for it's not even possible to make it up to some people who worked 80hrs/week this year for just base. Most of the analysts are going to quit for PE jobs before the next bonus payment.

Apr 12, 2020

If someone was going to leave before next bonus payment anyways, then it's a moot point.

But if you get to next bonus season after grinding for a whole year and get told "be thankful it's zero" then a firm should get fucked. If a firm has a good idea that is going to happen then there are ways to make up for it now. Be relatively transparent and provide some combination of more PTO, less demanding hours, and, if public, deferred stock that doesn't get forfeited upon departure. Hell, bankers can spin the most ridiculous bullshit for a deal; I'm sure they can figure out how to make analysts and associates relatively whole when their pay is a fairly small portion of a firm's overall comp. Whether they will is a different story, but there are plenty of jobs out there where you can make a junior banker's base pay for half the hours and 75% less stress.

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Apr 12, 2020

This is my first posting and I'm finding the commentary that's going on in this thread quite interesting to put it politely. I'm also bored so I figured that I'd post something.
Having started in the industry just after the 87 crash I remember when a lot of the major firms were acquired by banks or disappeared.
In good times bonuses are good and in times like this they aren't.
Some of my longest hours were after LTCM imploded and after the internet bubble burst and bonuses sucked or were zero. It's the nature of the beast and the bonus pools are for the most part controlled at the top of the house and funded by profits.
I realize that I'm ancient and the industry is constantly evolving but right now the thought process at the top is how can expenses be minimized without turning to mass terminations. It is not around maintaining bonuses. If this were 20 years ago the terminations probably would have started a couple of weeks ago.
Even most people under a direct drive model of compensation will see a significant hit this year and maybe going forward.
What is going on now is structurally different and pretty much hitting every sector and part of logistic chains. It sucks but it sucks everywhere right now.

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Apr 12, 2020

I understand your viewpoint, but I find it to be a relatively dated view.

Compensation in the 80s / 90s / 00s was meaningfully more variable in both directions. However, comp trends over the past decade have been unfavorable with meaningful risk to the downside in bad years and little upside in good years.

Also, it would be intersting to understand COL-adjusted base pay over the last thirty years. As an NYC resident, I know that my Director-level IB base pay barely covers my living expenses throughout the year. Year-end "bonuses" are relied upon by bankers to make them whole. I suspect that very few people would choose to work on Wall Street to play for base pay.

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Apr 13, 2020
noncents:

As an NYC resident, I know that my Director-level IB base pay barely covers my living expenses throughout the year. Year-end "bonuses" are relied upon by bankers to make them whole.

Then you're doing some pretty poor financial planning. Leaving aside the fact that $275k "barely covers your living expenses" despite being 4x the average NYC income, you're budgeting based on non-guaranteed income. Would you advise someone to create a personal budget that was highly dependent on their investment returns? While IB bonuses are a bit more predictable than the S&P, they still carry risk.

Apr 13, 2020

Lunch has been cancelled today due to a lack of hustle. Deal with it.

Apr 13, 2020

we received an email that HSBC in HK cancelled all bonus

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

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Apr 13, 2020

I wish there was a way to see an actual email from HR instead of so many people on this website spreading rumors. Not that you are lying, but so frustrating with so much bs.....!!!

Array

Apr 14, 2020
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Apr 14, 2020