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Wall Street bonuses are likely to disappoint this year

Not all Wall Street workers can bank on high bonuses this year.

While some sectors of the financial elite can expect a healthy payday, most are likely to be disappointed by this year’s payout, according to an annual survey by Johnson Associates, a compensation consulting agency.

Trading desks and hedge funds, which used to be the big money-makers for firms, could see their bonuses drop as much as 10%. However, investment bankers and private equity workers — those who have serviced this year’s boom in mergers and acquisitions — will see their year-end payouts rise 10% to 15%.

Annual bonuses account for a large percentage of total pay at many big banks, and for top workers bonuses can reach into the millions of dollars. Bankers won’t find out their final take-home pay until early next year, following the fourth-quarter financial results for banks.

The bonus outlook this year is a change from the historical norm for Wall Street. Typically, riskier financial jobs, including traders, have garnered major revenue for the banks — and therefore big bonuses. However, those jobs have faded as banks step back from the more precarious activities. Industry analysts had expected those jobs to come back as the economy improved, but that has not happened to date.