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DealBreaker BonusBumper 2007

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When I was a professional ankle holder analyst at JPMorgan, before analyst bonus rumor season (starting very soon) a bunch of us would start an elaborate disinformation campaign. One of our mainstays was to claim that SunTrust, a large but still relatively obscure (at least in terms of a major Wall Street advisory practice) southeastern bank, was topping market by $10k+ in analyst bonuses. Part of this was a joke, as bonus speculation emails absolutely rocket around the bottom of the financial barrel, exploiting the naiveté of fresh Street urchins and single day payoffs that justify years of douchebaggery. Bonus pools aside, the real reward was overhearing “I heard SunTrust is paying out $10k more than Goldman this year” at a party.
Jamie Dimon apparently caught wind of our strategy (and the Feds are reading our old emails). Shares of SunTrust (NYSE: STI) soared to a new 52-week high yesterday upon speculation that JPMorgan has its domestic bank beer goggles on again, with a special focus on spending spring break in Panama City, Fl. SunTrust is seen as one of the most synergistic domestic plays for JPMorgan, as it would provide a strong footprint in the fast-growing southeastern US market. Dimon threw out ambiguous acquisition aspirations in a conference call on Monday, commenting that JPMorgan was ready to date again after Bank One.
Back to bonus speculation – to our surprise (and also because starting in 2003 M&A deal volume and forecasts kept increasing year after year) it seemed like the more inflated speculation became, the more banks starting scrambling to issue statements that they were going match the payouts of rivals (to prevent a premature analyst class summer riot). JPMorgan would scramble to match Citi, Goldman would scramble to match Morgan Stanley (or top it and laugh, as one of the last payouts in late summer), and all would scramble initially to match absolute conjecture, and SunTrust. Peer pressure can be a very powerful force in irrational bonus bump-ups (just see what our fellow site Above the Law has done with its Skaddenfreude campaign - caused panic at several firms paying well under market levels), so that’s why we present to you DealBreaker BonusBumper 2007.
Analysts, we encourage you to send in your emails. We will aggregate and print the speculation, rumor, deception, betrayal and forbidden trysts above and below the market average. We'll also rank all top analysts bonuses by bank, and deviations from the "top" as they come out (so tell us what you and your friends are getting).
Shame (or dupe) your superiors into higher bonuses and base salary increases! Your lawyer friends are doing it (or at least when they graduate law school they will be). Showing them a ranking from what at least looks on occasion (Arbor Day) like a credible news source might give you more authority than an email sent with a fake personal account that “Goldman (or SunTrust) is paying [x].”
Send to: tips at dealbreaker dot com
Dimon Zeroes In On Takeover Target [Forbes via DealBook]