So, we now have our bonuses for 2021 and - yes - comp was good. But the big question now is whether it was good enough. We all heard the chest-thumping, we all saw the exceptional results, and most of us were way above our targets. In the circumstances, compensation should have been great.
For the most part, it was not.
It's now, therefore, that the real soul-searching and existential dread begins. Because, if this year's bonuses were as good as it gets, then what's next? - If they were the best ever, then what do I have to look forward to now?
The thing is that people didn't join this industry for good compensation. We joined this industry because there was a real chance that if we worked hard enough and sacrificed enough of our soul, we had a very good chance of early retirement. But this year's bonuses have disproved that. And from now, they can only go down.
There are alternatives. There are hedge funds, crypto, private equity, venture capital, or electronic market makers like Citadel Securities. Any one of these options might be a better bet than a bank in 2022 and 2023, but considering and executing upon them is extra work alongside the day job.
The worst trend is the resurgence of the postgraduate qualification or MBA. If you want a really senior role on the buy-side, it's starting to look like an MBA - costing well over $100k and two years of life - will help you out. And so it is, that the prospect of retirement is slipping further and further into the future.
Martin Lopez is a pseudonym
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