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Bonuses 'falling to 1998 level'

Bank bonuses are set to fall to levels last seen 15 years ago as City rewards start "coming back into the real world", it has been claimed.

The amount paid out in bonuses fell to £4.4 billion in 2011/12, less than half the peak of £11.6 billion before the financial crisis and the lowest for eight years, according to economics consultancy Cebr.

And it forecast a further 48% fall to £2.3 billion in the current year, putting pay-outs back to levels last seen in 1998.

The reduction reflects the collapse in City activity and the sharp fall in financial jobs, which now means that bonuses are "the exception, not the rule".

Cebr chief executive Douglas McWilliams said: "City remuneration levels are coming back into the real world.

"Employees are being told 'Your job is your bonus so don't expect a large sum in addition'."

The fall in pay-outs comes amid the so-called "shareholder spring", which has seen investors rebel against excessive executive pay.

The movement has recently claimed the scalps of Andrew Moss at Aviva, David Brennan at AstraZeneca, and Sly Bailey at Trinity Mirror.

But Mr McWilliams added: "Before anti-City campaigners start jumping for joy, they should reflect on the fact that because City earnings are very highly taxed, the biggest loser of all will be the Treasury, meaning fewer funds available to finance public services."

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