Hong Kong banker bonuses drop by a fifth as stock markets fall

Some local brokers had to make do with a lai see.

Hong Kong bankers had less reason to cheer in the Year of the Pig as bonuses crashed by as much as 20% following a tumultuous year for the stock market, reports South China Morning Post. 

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Compared to bonuses doled out in the Year of the Dog, bonuses in the Year of the Pig were substantially down to track the weak performance of the benchmark Hang Seng Index which fell 14% in 2018 to book its biggest annual decline since 2011.

Instead of a bonus, a number of local brokers were to said to have had to make do with a ‘lai see’ or a red envelope that is traditionally distributed during the festivities containing about $1,000 or a few thousand dollars. “The Year of the Dog was not good for stockbrokers as a whole, because the market turned very volatile in the second half of 2018 after the outbreak of the trade war. Many brokers have been cautious in their expenditure and hence have not paid out a high bonus,” Christopher Cheung, a lawmaker for the financial services sector told SCMP.

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Top-performing senior execs within a Chinese company typically receive four to six months’ salary as a bonus, whilst those in foreign banks and retail banks get about half that, said Adam Johnston, managing director of Robert Half Hong Kong.

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