Wall Street's banking and broking elite, under attack in the US for excessive pay, will see their end-of-year bonuses cut by up to 30 percent this year, according to a report released Tuesday.
Bonuses, which often top more than $1 million for senior executives, will remain 25-35 percent below their peaks in 2007, when the country began to sink into financial crisis, according to the study by Johnson Associates.
"Lack of economic recovery, varying impact of regulation both globally and regionally, business mix, and ongoing uncertainty in world markets are key 2011 incentive drivers," the Johnson study said.
Johnson said senior management of the industry's banks and fund managers would see their incentive pay fall by up to 30 percent from last year.
The cut for staffers would be up to 20 percent.
But not all will be hit, those in the headline-grabbing underwriting and mergers and acquisitions sectors will see bonuses jump by 5-10 percent.
Banks would be paying out a higher percentage of their income for bonuses, Johnson said, but that would be offset by declining profits this year.
Many have already announced layoffs, and Johnson says more layoffs could be ahead.
Bonuses are key to pay packages for many Wall Street executives.
Last year, for instance, JPMorgan Chase chief executive James Dimon had a base salary of juse $1 million, but a cash bonus of $5 million and stocks and options grants that took total pay to more than $20 million, according to compensation specialists Equilar.
The Johnson study said that compensation models on Wall Street have been changing since the financial crisis, due in part to tougher regulations.
The crisis has been blamed in part on bankers' excessive risk-taking that was partly driven by the promise of bonuses many times their regular salaries.
The government has pressed banks to reduce the amount of bonuses paid up front, and instead to defer more over a longer period of time, to ensure that they were not earned on the back of actions that damaged the firm's longer-term performance.
In October a Federal Reserve study of 25 large banks showed that senior executives now have on average 60 percent of their incentive pay deferred, and for the top executives, 80 percent.
The Fed said that many firms are also paying more attention to the links between incentive pay and risk-taking by staff below the executive level
"Deferring payout of a portion of incentive compensation awards can help promote prudent incentives if done in a way that takes into account risk taking, especially bad outcome," the Fed report said.