The US bank results season, which kicks off with JP Morgan Chase's full-year figures on Friday, could see bonuses slashed by up to a quarter after poor trading late last year.
A leading Wall Street analyst said: "Every bulge bracket firm will be paying lower bonuses per employee versus last year. I would say bonuses could be 15-to-25 per cent down."
The JP Morgan boss, Jamie Dimon, had already reduced the investment banking arm's compensation, which includes salaries and bonuses, by 2 per cent over the first three-quarters of 2011. But this meant the division's 26,615 employees were still paid nearly $290,000 each.
Edward Najarian, banking analyst at ISI Group, said: "Big regional banks should do well, either meeting or exceeding consensus expectations. Global trading and investment banking businesses will see fairly weak results in terms of trading."