Back in the day, as in pre-crisis, bonus season on Wall Street was a happy time. Sure, you still had your miserable pricks who would bitch and moan about the fact that they hadn’t gotten as much as the guy who sat next to them, even they the guy who sat next to them was a “non-contributing zero who wouldn’t recognize alpha if it bit him in the ass,” but prior to to fall 2008, anyone who was unhappy about his or her bonus was a) quibbling over receiving a huge sum of money instead of an imperial fuck-ton of money and b) in a position to actually make good on a threat to jump ship, since firms were hiring. Now, with a few exceptions, bonus season makes people feel sad. Angry. Powerless. Frustrated. Confused. Like the world is out to get them. Not only has the total amount of one’s bonus come down, but many companies have decreased the cash portion, while increasing the deferral period on stock to, in some cases, almost half a decade. Then you have Jefferies. Last year it let employees decide between an all stock bonus or an all cash bonus with 25% lopped off.  This year the investment bank-cum-butcher shop isn’t even forcing anyone to choose, instead dumping a bag of cash on people’s desk and reminding everyone who loves ‘em.

The decision to pay immediate cash is a departure from some competitors’ compensation structures. Morgan Stanley capped 2011 cash bonuses at $125,000 and deferred an average of 75 percent of employees’ payouts, up from 40 percent two years earlier. Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group AG awarded a portion of 2011 bonuses for more than 6,000 bankers in bonds backed by derivatives that will pay out over several years. “It is no secret that virtually every one of our bank holding company competitors is forcing onto their employees extremely high levels of non-cash compensation with long vesting periods or compensation in the form of cash to be received well into the future,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Handler and executive committee Chairman Brian Friedman wrote. “You can’t spend non-cash compensation or unpaid cash to buy a home, purchase groceries, invest in your life or help out friends and family.”

Of course, this gesture of love and appreciation has got to be a two-way street, which is why in the same memo Dick and Brian noted that they would be extending gardening leave periods, should anyone be getting any ideas about seeking employment elsewhere, which they know you would never do, since there’s not a bank on the Street that’ll keep ya warm at night like they do.

Jefferies Vows Immediate All-Cash Bonuses as Bigger Banks Defer [Bloomberg]

21 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (21)

  1. Posted by UBS Lifestyle Quant | December 11, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Notably, you can't use non-cash for hookers.

  2. Posted by ProstiAstute | December 11, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    You can for Smith & Wollensky hookers

  3. Posted by GS Bound | December 11, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    JEF is the NKI? What the, I don't even… but…

    – College Senior Now Regretting His Choice to Sign with GS

  4. Posted by Guest | December 11, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Look at those suckers that only got an imperial fuck-ton of bonus money.
    Back in the day I would always get a metric fuck-ton.

    – UBS Shipping Analyst

  5. Posted by Max | December 11, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Smart hookers then.

  6. Posted by Max | December 11, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    A dollar today is worth a hell lot more than a dollar in two year with inflation and opportunity cost of compounding interest.

  7. Posted by Matt Levine | December 11, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Very interesting observation. Can you put that in a graph and email it to me?


  8. Posted by MS group head | December 11, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    I would be happy with an imperial handjob-ounce if they just gave me cash instead of more worthless deferred stock

  9. Posted by GuestLaborEconomist. | December 12, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    The good news is that you get your bonus in cash. The bad news is that you have to work at Jefferies to get it.

  10. Posted by Dead_cat | December 12, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Three things:
    – Leveraged Sell Out foretold this and immediately shut itself down in despair.
    – Alpha was conclusively proven to be just trader-speak for leverage.
    – In the UK, gardening leave equals paid vacation and is therefore a good thing.

  11. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Don't worry, you're now free to sign with them.

    -GS HR

  12. Posted by JEF Associate | December 12, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    FUCK JEFFERIES! FUCK THEM@!!! 60k was top bonus. Half of us got fucking under 30k.

  13. Posted by anonymous | December 12, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    10K cash, yes!

  14. Posted by Len Borello | December 12, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    Sounds like last year's numbers . . for VP's

    -Former JEF

  15. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    Non-vested shares and Wollensky

  16. Posted by Financial Samurai | December 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Let the good times role for Jefferies!

    Who says the industry doesn't pay well or is dead?

  17. Posted by Financial Samurai | December 13, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Congrats to all cash bonuses guys! Don't forget about the rest of us!

  18. Posted by LetsBreel | December 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    LOVED that guy in Raising Arizona.

  19. Posted by quitting | December 16, 2012 at 6:35 AM

    I can corroborate "JEF Associate's" numbers.

  20. Posted by right behind you | December 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM


  21. Posted by BSE | March 18, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    While studies show that technology spending is once again on the rise, there's a reason