Stockbroker sidesteps bonuses with 'retention payments'

The stockbroker Daniel Stewarthas come up with a novel alternative to the City bonus. It now pays its 57 staff, from receptionist to chief executive, a monthly "retentionpayment" equivalent to whattheir bonus for the year would be.

"In the old days people gottheir annual cash bonus and then jumped ship," Peter Shea, its chief executive, said. "This waythey're more likely to stay,and if they go, we stop paying out."

The first-half retention payment of £361,000 contributed to a pre-tax loss of £606,000 in the six months to September, against a profit of £190,000 a year ago. Revenues were up from £3.3mto £3.6m.

Mr Shea expects the Hong Kong group Jade Investments to add to the 3.8 per cent stake it bought in Stewart this week.