Quants on Wall Street have been in high demand, but that’s no guarantee they’ll see big increases in their bonus check.

Many workers with tech skills on the sell side can expect roughly the same payout this year as last year, while most trading professionals will see smaller bonuses, according to an analysis by recruiting firm Options Group. Equities traders will fare the worst, with the steepest declines, while credit and securitized products are among the only groups with projected increases.

Quant traders are finding less rigorous competition when it comes to moving between banks, according to Options Group Chief Executive Officer Michael Karp. A bigger lure is coming from technology firms willing to pay up for their talent. “New York is losing its cachet,” Karp said.

Wall Street’s trading desks suffered the worst first half in a decade in 2019. But the third quarter picked up as hedge funds and other institutional investors capitalized on market dislocations, and weren’t overly stifled by market jitters. That helped traders, though not all of them. Compensation consultant Johnson Associates said earlier this month that bonuses across the industry are generally poised to drop.

Options Group compensation projections:

  • Quantitative strategy, risk and analytics unchanged
  • Fixed-income, credit and commodities down 1.1%
  • Equities down 10.4%
  • Investment banking down 1.8%
  • Private wealth management down 0.5%

Karp said flat bonuses don’t mean that quantitative skills aren’t in high demand. Trading desks are becoming more electronic and banks are scouring for professionals who can build and oversee algorithms, including for fixed-income products.

Big banks will “still pay up for star traders,” Karp said, adding that pay is nevertheless way down from where it was before the financial crisis.

This story was provided by Bloomberg News.