Deutsche Bank: king of the bonus pool

February 4, 2011, 4:45 PM UTC

How do you say overpaid in German?

Put away your Google translator — and your stereotypes about thrifty Teutonic types, for that matter. The answer for 2010 is Deutsche Bank (DB).

The big Frankfurt-based bank was Wall Street’s most lavish check-writer last year, with the average employee at its New York-based investment banking unit receiving $514,332 in compensation. The number comes from Deutsche’s fourth-quarter financials, released Thursday.

The average take at Deutsche Bank’s corporate and investment banking business is up 5% from a year ago and is well above the numbers at the other big firms on the Street. The average worker at Goldman Sachs (GS), for instance, made $430,700, which is down 14% from a year ago.

Those at J.P. Morgan, the Wall Street unit of JPMorgan Chase (JPM), had to scrape by on $369,651, which is down 2% from a year earlier.

At Morgan Stanley (MS), average pay rose 8% from a year ago to $256,627, though that number isn’t strictly comparable with the others because Morgan Stanley has 62,000-plus workers – roughly double the headcount at Goldman and JPMorgan and four times that of Deutsche.

All the banks are paying more in stock and deferring more payouts nowadays, in line with the wishes of regulators who would rather not see bonus-fueled risk-taking lead to another financial meltdown on their watch, thank you very much.

Even so, the funds showered on financial types last year hit $135 billion last year, up 6% from the previous year. No matter how the Fed and others might talk tough on pay, a bonus deferred is most definitely not to be confused with a bonus denied.

So if you happen to find yourself in Frankfurt, the word is uberzahlte.