Bankers at the firm learned Tuesday their bonuses would be flat to slightly up, according to a source briefed on the situation. They probably had an inkling that bonuses would be less than stellar when Jefferies handed investors disappointing financial guidance, sending shares of its parent company Leucadia National Corp. (LUK) down 2.5% to close at $21.04, extending its 2014 decline to 26%.
For Jefferies, 2014 was not a typical year. The city's tabloids had good fun as several of the firm's top bankers were named and shamed during the divorce proceedings of Sage Kelly, a well-known Jefferies partner. Testimony of partner-swapping (that is, between consenting adults) as well as colorful drug benders dominated the newspaper headlines and water cooler chatter during the racy Kelly hearings.
Once the proceedings ended, Kelly took a leave of absence. Jefferies declined to comment when contacted by TheStreet.
Bonus season, especially this one, should be better at other Wall Street firms, and for good reason. Merger activity has generally soared, especially coming out of the Great Recession, driving up revenue. According to Glassdoor.com, the average Jefferies senior vice president earns nearly $400,000 annually.