Bonus bummer on Wall Street

wall street bonus
Bonuses for traders aren't what they used to be.

It's a message the masters of the universe do not like to hear: Bonus season won't be great.

Bonus checks could be down as much as 10% for some Wall Street professionals this year, according to a closely-watched survey by Johnson Associates, a consulting firm.

Overall, the firm expects 2014 bonuses to be flat compared with last year. However, the size of year-end incentive payments varies significantly across the industry.

Stock and bond traders, as well as hedge fund managers, are among those expected to see their bonus packages of cash and stock shrink by up to 10% versus 2013.

"2014 is turning out to be another difficult and disappointing year for investment and commercial banks," said Alan Johnson, the managing director of Johnson Associates.

Related: Big bankers wait 7 years for bonus

Stocks are still near record highs, but traders have been hurt by a lack of volatility in the market. At the same time, many big banks have been scaling back their trading operations in response to new regulations that have made those businesses less profitable.

The outlook is better for bankers who advise companies on big transactions and managers at private equity funds. Their bonuses are expected to increase 10%-15%.

Corporate investment advisers and underwriters have been busy this year with a surge of initial public offerings and big mergers.

Related: Boom time for mergers and acquisitions

The IPO boom has also been lucrative for private equity funds that have cashed out of their initial investments.

Meanwhile, employees at asset management firms and those who manage money for wealthy individuals are expected to see their annual bonuses increase 5% to 10%.

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