Bonus Watch ’12: Morgan Stanley

The good news: the waiting– which is the hardest part!– is over. The bad news: this year’s bonuses.

From the front lines:

“Terrible across all divisions. FID, IBD, and even equities hard hit – lots of zeroes at junior levels. Lots of deferred cash and stock for more senior people.”


“Demoralizing is best word to describe bonuses this year. Many 0’s, average seemed to be down 20-30% YOY** in S&T for VPs/EDs. Brutal day.”

Having said that:

“I would say that expectations were set lower and lower until mgmt would be able to exceed them, which they did, slightly. I have to imagine anyone VP or lower who was hired less than 12 months ago got a zero… as should have been expected. Anyone else who got a zero should take it as a sign that they should leave, except maybe in FID, where they just did a shitty job.”

**Update: Bloomberg has heard the same thing.

(hidden for your protection)
Show all comments

144 Responses to “Bonus Watch ’12: Morgan Stanley”

  1. Guest says:

    "Lots of zeroes" at bonus time used to be a good thing… Sad.

    • kanye says:

      Russell Brand, Russell zero zero zero a whole lotta 0's.

    • Grover says:

      Actually this article is inaccurate at best and completely wrong at worst… roomates at MS IBD first year made 40k annualized bonus…

  2. Wall St. Dude says:

    Would love more clarity – pretty vague

    Appears Morgan Stanley is the wrong Morgan to be at – variance in comp is staggering

  3. Guest says:

    Don't they try to hire the "smartest people" from the "best schools"?

    What happened?

    • Pedantic Guy says:

      You want o know what happened. They hired a former consultant from, of all places, Australia, to head up a firm whose main revenue driver was trading.

  4. pazzo83 says:

    "Anyone else who got a zero should take it as a sign that they should leave, except maybe in FID, where they just did a shitty job."

    Interesting, getting a zero here is basically the gold star standard we all aspire to.

    – UBS IB MD

  5. Guest says:

    Could be worse, you could in a river of excrement and a Native American water vessel without any means of propulsion.
    -Bank Of AMerrillWide MD

  6. Jealous if true says:

    How does the math work where the average is -20% or -30% YoY but yet there are a lot of 0s too? Wouldn't that imply a lot of people got paid at least flat YoY or even up?

  7. Guest says:

    At least they get free Bloomberg.

    – Ex-Drexel dude who can only afford one of Yahoo Finance or Google Finance.

  8. Lew Dunbar says:

    How are they supposed to retain "world class talent" if they can't pay expected bonuses?

    The future BSD's aren't going to be around for when the pastures turn greener.

    Seems very shortsighted.

    • Ray Finkle says:

      Learning to use an apostrophe appropriately is the first step.

      Pardon the alliteration.

    • Guest says:

      Ha – here's the real deal:

      The goal is to pace yourself and bail out of a firm at those times when the money sucks, but space those moves out over the years so that you haven't exhausted the list of all the firms that would have you, before you retire.

      It's a big circular process. (Your punchline here.) And this is key: you have to keep stomping on the junior people you encounter on your way, so that not enough of them survive to grow up to being your peers, and challenge you.

      Yup – the sad truth: gotta keep that junior talent pruned.

      There is justice, of course: junior guys break out of the trance of I-Bkg, and then go start a real company of their own, and you kiss up to them down the road when you can make fees off them. And if you're *really* good, you'll have stomped them just hard enough to get them out of banking, but delicately enough so that they actually have fond memories of having worked for you and will give you business down the road!

      No one said it was pretty.

  9. HungryIntern says:

    "Anyone else who got a zero should take it as a sign that they should leave…" and where exactly should they go?

  10. guest says:

    up front cash cap $125k, rest deferred.

  11. Lew Dunbar says:

    You just fed a troll

  12. guest says:

    so people with knowledge of the decision = Dealbreaker?

    Morgan Stanley is reducing pay for senior investment bankers and traders by an average of 20 percent to 30 percent for 2011 as it seeks to curb mounting compensation costs, people with knowledge of the decision said.

  13. R. Goodell says:

    The bulge brackets should have some kind of salary cap rules.

  14. Guest says:

    Philadelphia, duh…..

    – UBS Geography Quant

  15. Dick Fuld says:

    This was an industry for the 90's…. The dream is over.

  16. RBS Quant says:

    I wonder how this will affect recruiting…

    I can already see the new slogan:

    Morgan Stanley "Where less (in this case zero) is more!"

  17. Guest says:

    FUCK! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck

    – UBS MD, who was surprised at his bonus (but should not have been)

  18. HaightAshbury says:

    WFC > BAC > Morgan Stanley

  19. Guest says:

    Next year instead of zeros, we are going with retroactive abortion.

    – J Gorman

  20. Guesto says:

    Not that much…..prob like Mitt Romney's public speaking engagement fees.

  21. Quantifiable Rainman says:

    So salary/bonus means I’m worth an infinitely vast amount of money.

  22. Jonny Riggs says:

    Bonuses are not down for senior level executives (top 1%) at any of these banks. Do you see what the CEO take home. For example, how else would this banker (Reece) be able to buy a $9m home in this market.

  23. Rick says:

    There's always lots of people that come in on guarantees so increases amount paid (v last year) in a total pool sense

  24. FaithfulMSEmployee says:

    Bonus day is tomorrow – Jan 20th Friday

  25. McKinsey's Finest says:

    How's that joint venture working out, Jim?

  26. Wall St. Dude says:

    Any word on Assoc 2, and Assoc 3??

  27. Smith Barney, Esq. says:

    Not getting a bonus, raise, or even job security is the NKI

  28. Guest says:

    "I have to imagine anyone VP or lower who was hired less than 12 months ago got a zero"

    This is definitely not true for everyone in that category, even in FID. Actually saw a couple that looked extremely happy (and trying to hide it) coming back with their number.

  29. MS MD says:

    they crushed everyone below MD
    ED's 0-$50,000 (salaries are ranging from 150-300)
    VP's 0-$12,000 (salaries ranging from 75-200)
    Below VP 0-$2500 (Salaries ranging from 50-75)
    across the board most got zeros
    anyone with total comp(salary+bonus) above 250 was forced into deferrals for amounts above 250
    For those in the tri-state area it will be hard to work here for long. Cash flow is tight and past few year most got crushed so not much in savings
    Gorman making more than entire divisions
    office printers and copy machines are printing resumes only
    if recruiters and competitors were smart they could pick off a ton of talent on the cheap here

  30. I don't even feel bad any longer for my ex-colleagues at Morgan Stanley whom I left behind to transition to the buy-side. And not just any buy-side firm, but the premier, prestigious PE firm of Warburg Pincus. I left a few years ago… the best career decision.

    Now for the past week I have been flooded by cold-calls, silly resumes and other moronic materials from my ex-colleagues at MS who did not have the right pedigree, Ivy-league degree or MBA to have made the jump to the buy-side.

    Sorry guys — I can't help you losers.

    But — don't you cry for me.. I'm a principal now and on a partner-track position.

    you bulge-bracket assholes are doomed, sinking closer and closer towards the 99% hippies in Zuccoti Park.

    Warburg "WasP" Baller.

  31. MSters says:

    Investors better run with your money before it collapsed!!!!!!! Someone w a legal degree can't manage the biz……lol

    • JPM says:

      i think JPM is doing a much better job after 70 over years after separation…shame MS.

      • Ikdli says:

        JPM and MS are intrinsically different businesses, MS is much smaller with more emphasis on trading and advisory services much like a GS..don't think you can really compare to two and I don't see how MS is necessarily doing "worse" what department are you talking about? MS banking trumps JPM banking any day of the week

  32. IBD MS says:

    Where is dealbreaker getting this stuff?!!! I am a FIRST YEAR ANALYST and I got 19K bonus for half the year…not stellar but expected..and definitely not zero

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