x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Arabian Gulf financiers anticipate bumper payouts this year

Survey shows that big bonuses are expected this year as global financial institutions resume rewarding staff with significant payouts.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the country’s third-largest lender, last week posted a 47 per cent increase in third-quarter profits to Dh920 million. Asmaa Al Hameli / The National
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the country’s third-largest lender, last week posted a 47 per cent increase in third-quarter profits to Dh920 million. Asmaa Al Hameli / The National

Financial professionals in the Arabian Gulf are expecting bumper bonuses this year as global financial institutions resume rewarding staff with big payouts.

With UAE and Middle Eastern banks reporting sharp profit increases, a poll of the sector has found that 61 per cent of regional respondents – the highest level in all markets surveyed – thought they would receive larger bonuses at the end of the year than last year.

The survey of 4,500 such professionals around the globe found that just 9 per cent of Gulf-based respondents thought they would receive less money than last year, while 27 per cent said they thought their payout would be the same.

The poll, conducted in seven world markets by the eFinancialCareers website, found that Middle Eastern bankers had the highest bonus expectations.

The findings come as UAE banks report stellar third-quarter earnings supported by strong lending growth. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the country’s third-largest lender, last week posted a 47 per cent increase in third-quarter profits to Dh920 million. Sharjah’s United Arab Bank achieved a 39 per cent jump in net profit for the first nine months to Dh414m.

Bankers in the United Kingdom had the second-highest expectations, with 58 per cent of respondents predicting an increase in their bonus.

Hong Kong came in third with 53 per cent, and Singapore 50 per cent.

Bankers in America were the least optimistic, with just 42 per cent expecting bigger bonuses.

In the Gulf, bankers were the most optimistic, with 48 per cent of respondents reporting that they were more confident about their bonus this year than last year. This compares with 41 per cent in the UK, 37 per cent in Hong Kong, 33 per cent in Singapore and 29 per cent in the US.

In addition, the survey found that 61 per cent of Gulf respondents said they expected to receive a bonus next year, while 21 per cent were not expecting a bonus this year and 19 per cent were undecided.

The proportions were about the same as those in the UK and slightly higher than those in the US, where 59 per cent of those surveyed expected to receive a bonus.

However, they lagged behind those in the booming economies in East Asia, where 83 per cent of Hong Kong respondents and 72 per cent of Singapore respondents said they expected to receive a bonus.

“If expectations are met, it could make the Middle East financial centres more attractive to international talent,” said James Bennett, the global managing director of eFinancialCareers.

lbarnard@thenational.ae