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Opinion

Bonus bonanza beckons

Investment bank bonuses are set to reach up to $5 million this year, up 50% from 2002, according to a survey by headhunters Armstrong International.

Interest-rate traders have the highest earning capacity, rather than credit derivative marketers who were expected to be the top earners in 2002.

The next highest expectations at the top end are in equity and credit derivatives. Managing directors in these areas can expect somewhere in the range of $700,000 to $2.7 million and $900,000 to $2.5 million at the top end, respectively.

Those with the lowest bonus expectations, who no doubt will be full of self pity, are those with five years' experience or more in equity sales and trading. These bankers can expect a top bonus of $1 million.

What will they do?

Debt capital markets managing directors are expected to make a decent whack of between $600,000 and $2 million. One such banker at a top-tier firm confirms that these brackets are reasonable. However, he adds: "If you're lower [than average] you can kiss yourself goodbye."

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