This is especially the case with the all-important rise to “CEO,” seen across the street as the most important promotion in a banker’s career, which seems to get harder every year, not more. easy.

Just because the banks are doing well this year doesn’t mean that activity will hold up next year or the next decade. And no boss wants to promote now, only to have to cut when business is down.

So MD promotions are expected to be the domain of the very deserving – senior executive directors who have had huge years – or for whom the bank needs to fill a seat. (It is arguably easier for an investment bank to get work with a CBA or NAB, for example, when it has an MD at the head of the financial institutions). There won’t be any special promotions just because there is an increase in activity.

All of this reflects the new normal that has emerged over the past decade.

Australia’s investment banking teams are largely ex-growth and bosses are happy to see their troops work harder when it’s raining on business (like this year) and less hard when it’s quiet. Money is good, but it’s not what it used to be, which means longer careers for fewer bankers.

RBC Capital Markets traditionally kicks off the bonus season in December, while the big US banks (Citi, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPMorgan et al) follow soon after in January.