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Time was, when bonus season rolled around, you could count on the discontent, the grumbling, the “this isn’t fair,” the “fuck you, you overpaid jerks,” and the “I’m going to do something crazy in defiance” coming from places far, far away from Wall Street. Sure, some people might have been upset about their particular numbers but on the whole, there wasn’t a lot of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ going on on the inside. This year, as we’ve discussed at length, bonuses at banks (hedge funds and private equity are doing just fine) will for the most part be fairly crummy (those getting flat numbers year-on-year are among the lucky). Of course, some people will be on the receiving end of enough zeros to make them smile– such as the top earners, who made the firm money– and this time around it’s their colleagues telling them to go to hell.

Annual bonuses at top global banks are causing ructions that could drive a outsized round of defections as weaker profits and tougher rules widen the pay discrepancy between star performers and everybody else. “The differentiation this year between a small number of top-fee earning investment bankers and the bulk of their colleagues will be unlike ever before,” said a top Asia executive at a large investment bank. “The tail end will be significantly hurt.”

What’s the tail end going to do about it? Read more »