Money isn't everything for Swedish bankers

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Banks in Sweden have been tightening their belts when it comes to handing out lavish bonuses to their investment banking staff, but more firms are turning to non-cash incentives to help keep staff motivated and engaged.

The general climate, which is still making it very hard politically for banks to lavish cash bonuses on their staff, does mean that "softer" benefits.

These include career or personal development, training opportunities and relocation compensation. Generally, speaking non-cash perks are all moving the hiring and talent are an increasing consideration for many Swedish financial services professionals when staying with or taking a new job.

When it comes to remuneration, most Nordic banks are toeing the same line as those in other parts of Europe; stripping down the cash component and deferral an increasing proportion of variable compensation.

"Investment banking has made some minor adjustments to bonus schemes and at the same time increased fixed salaries. The bonus amounts have not really decreased but been tied to shares and the time of release has prolonged," points out Erkki Tuominen, managing partner at CV Group in Helsinki.

Still, with a greater focus on fixed salaries, many bankers are feeling more of a reluctance to stick around if the prospect of a large annual bonus has been diminished. Banks are therefore taking action to convince them to stay put.

Another recruiter says: "It is travel concessions, cars, things to do with security, financial or otherwise. While healthcare in Sweden is free you also sometimes now get packages where you get a sum of money to spend on health-related items, maybe golf club or gym membership or things like that."

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