Bankers in London and New York are set to share record bonuses of almost €30bn ($36.4bn) this year, fuelled by a surge in mergers and acquisitions and a sharp rise in equity markets.
The estimated figure for London is 7.5bn (€10.9bn), beating the previous record of 6.4bn in 2004 and the 5.4bn paid in the dotcom boom of 2000.
Wall Street bankers will share $21.5bn (€17.7bn). They were paid $19.5bn in 2000.
The London figures, from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, take into account trends in City activity and numbers of jobs on a quarterly basis.
"There appears to be a reasonable correlation between these trends and City bonuses", the CEBR said.
The 10% rise in stock market activity and the 20% surge in mergers and acquisitions last year added 9,500 new jobs in the City, which meant the total number of jobs beat the previous peak of 325,500 in 2000.
The average London bonus will be 23,000, but figures will vary widely according to performance. About 3,000 top performers will receive a bonus of 1m or more, the CEBR said.
The research agency predicts the same trends will stay in place this year, leading to the creation of 6,300 new jobs in the City and a further double-digit rise in bonuses next winter.
In New York, Alan Hevesi, the state comptroller, forecasts the average bonus will be $125,500 a 15.5% rise on the total $18.6bn paid in 2004.
Hevesi said revenues at Wall Street firms grew by 44.5% through the first three quarters of 2005, reaching the highest level since the stock market peaked in 2000.
Employment in the securities industry in New York City totalled 174,000 jobs in November 2005, 8,700 more jobs than a year ago.