Swedish finance workers eye massive bonuses

Times are good in the Swedish finance sector, thanks to a surging stock market and numerous major deals over the last twelve months. Demand for advisors and analysts has increased dramatically and in the spring bonuses worth 2.5 billion kronor will be dished out.

“You could really say that it began a couple of years ago after the last finance crisis at the beginning of the decade,” said Leif Karlsson, spokesman at the Financial Sector Union.

“Since then we’ve slowly but surely seen an upturn, and it’s primarily in investment banks and finance firms.”

Sweden’s financial industry suffered between 2001 and 2003 with the fall of the world’s stock markets, and there were widespread job losses. But many of those have now been re-employed in the sector.

The profitability of banks and the finance sector in general has increased considerably and companies are returning very tidy profits indeed.

The main player in the Nordic market, Carnegie, has already taken on 50 people this year and now has around 800 employees. The firm, which on Friday presented its preliminary accounts for 2006 because of the purchase of insurance broker Max Matthiessen, has set aside 1.4 billion kronor to fund its staff bonus system.

The sum represents a 50 percent rise on the bonuses paid out by Carnegie the previous year and is nearing the record 1.5 billion kronor awarded in bonuses in 2000.

Industry observers say that staff in Sweden’s major banks and investment banks can expect a share of a total of 2.5 billion kronor in bonus payouts this spring.