"Everyone's bonus was zero:" the other terrible payers in 2023
As we were first to report last year, bonuses at Berenberg left a lot to be desired for 2022. After a challenging year, the privately owned German bank decided that its bonuses should be "limited and targeted." Plenty of Berenberg people howled in complaint at the policy, but it turns out they weren't alone in being widely zeroed - employees at Shore Capital and Liberum in London have also been suffering, in silence.
Liberum declined to comment for this article and Shore Capital didn't respond to our overtures, but multiple sources say both firms also paid zero bonuses for last year. "Berenberg, Liberum and Shore Capital have paid pretty much blanket zeroes," says one equities headhunter. "It's a sign of the times. They're very reliant on IPOs and the fees just weren't there last year."
Liberum doesn't publish detailed results, but an infographic released in August last year said the firm had 172 staff in London, New York and Guernsey and 30 research analysts. Shore Capital's results for the year ending June 2022 show profit falling from £8m to £1.6m.
It's not a great market for equity research jobs, but sources say there have already been defections as a result of the disappointing bonuses. Neil Patel, a Liberum managing director for nearly 10 years is understood to have left for Peel Hunt. "A lot of people are annoyed that they have been zeroed amidst the cost of living crisis," says one headhunter.
Widespread zeroes at firms catering for the small and mid-cap market are doubly painful because salaries at these firms tend to be lower than at major investment banks and employees rely more heavily on bonuses. At Shore Capital, for example, managing director salaries are thought to be around £150k; at Liberum they're more generous at £200k. At major banks in London, MD salaries are £500k+.
One headhunter said Berenberg bonuses weren't universally terrible: "They paid the execution desk pretty well," he claimed.
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