Credit Suisse says 2009 bonuses average $135,000

LONDON Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:14am EST

LONDON Feb 11 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) will pay staff an average bonus of 144,000 Swiss francs ($135,500) for 2009, including 86,400 francs in cash, with the Swiss bank saying it was leading attempts to "strike the right balance" on payouts.

Credit Suisse will pay 6.85 billion francs in bonuses for 2009, up from 2008's depressed payouts but a fifth down from average pay in 2007.

It said 4.1 billion francs, or 60 percent of the pool, will be paid in cash, with the remaining 2.7 billion deferred over several years and roughly split between shares and cash.

That works out at 144,000 francs on average for each of its 47,600 staff, down from 180,000 francs in 2007. It did not say how much it paid in bonuses in 2008, when payouts were lower amid the financial crisis.

Total compensation in 2009 was 14.9 billion francs, up 13 percent from 2008. The bank on Thursday reported a 6.7 billion franc annual profit. [ID:nLDE61926D]

Banks in Europe and the United States are coming under intense scrutiny on bonuses. Politicians, backed by an angry public, have vowed to clamp down on bumper payouts so soon after many banks were bailed out with taxpayer cash.

Credit Suisse said it was leading reform and transparency, in line with G20 guidelines on banking pay.

"We have tried to strike the right balance between paying our employees competitively, doing what is right for our shareholders and responding appropriately to regulatory initiatives as well as political and public concerns," Brady Dougan, chief executive, said in a statement.

"We recognize the need for institutions in our industry to change the way people are rewarded and incentivized."

Credit Suisse said its 2009 compensation to revenue ratio in investment banking was at the historically low level of 41 percent.

All bonuses for Credit Suisse's executive board members for 2009 were deferred and nearly 60 percent of bonuses for managing directors was deferred, and could be subject to clawback if targets are missed.

Many banks have said they will raise fixed salaries and pay a higher proportion of bonuses in stock over several years.

Rival UBS (UBSN.VX)(UBS.N) is paying about 2.9 billion Swiss francs ($2.7 billion) in cash bonuses for 2009, up 34 percent from depressed payouts a year earlier. It did not say how much it would pay in deferred share awards. [ID:nLDE6180N3]

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) said last week it paid 11.3 billion euros in compensation last year, up 18 percent on 2008.

U.S. bank Goldman Sachs (GS.N) has been at the centre of the bonus storm and paid an average of $498,000 to each employee for 2009, which it said showed "restraint" after a backlash. [ID:nN21197777]

Credit Suisse said any charge to pay a UK tax on bankers' bonuses would be made in 2010, as the levy has not been finalised yet. It plans to cut its global bonus pool by 5 percent to pay the tax, and would cut bonuses for its top 400 managers in Britain by a further 30 percent. [ID:nLDE60I1I4]

(Reporting by Steve Slater; editing by John Stonestreet)

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