Because all other technological challenges have apparently been solved, there is now an iOS app called "Banker's Bonus 2013," which allows Wall Streeters to enter in the size of their year-end bonus and compare it with the bonuses of their peers.
The $11.99 tool — meant to automate the yearly self-worth-measuring ritual that has taken place offline for as long as banks have existed — requires no verification from users before they submit their bonus numbers. So, of course, it has quickly become a den of lies. Let's run through them:
First of all, this is hilarious: a warning that requires all users of an app that represents a patent violation of every bank's rules to confirm that they are not violating their bank's rules by using it.
From the beginning of my experiment, there was one obviously fake bonus number — mine — in which I listed myself as a first-year FX analyst making a bonus of $999,999,900:
Looking down the league table, it's clear that you might as well put unicorns in here, because there has never been a second-year M&A analyst at Goldman Sachs (in other words, a 23-year-old) who made anything close to $600K.
I'm calling B.S. on these, too, since there is no way that a first-year ECM associate from Nomura out-bonuses a sixth-year ECM VP from "Citygroup" [sic], unless the Citi VP did something spectacularly dumb, like replacing Mike Corbat's skinny lattes with full-fat ones without telling him.
I'm also calling shenanigans on the low end, since there is, to my knowledge, no such thing as a compliance MD in Africa, and since you would have to kick Lloyd Blankfein in the testicles in the middle of a town-hall meeting to get a $1,000 bonus at Goldman.
To be fair, there are some truthful-seeming numbers hidden in the perfidy. For example, these look pretty solid:
And after a few hours atop their league table, my fictitious submission was flagged by the moderators.
So maybe there's hope for the reliability of Banker's Bonus after all. Just don't bank on it. (See what I did there?)