A survey of financial executives revealed that a growing number of them did not receive a salary increase last year, but the overwhelming majority did get a bonus despite the gloomy economy.

The study, by advocacy group Financial Executives International, found that 31 percent of the 990 financial executives it surveyed said they received no salary increase in 2008, nearly double the 16 percent who said in early 2008 that they received no increase. The estimated average base salary increase of all the respondents was 3.7 percent, down a percentage point compared to the 4.96 percent increase reported the previous year.

However, 94 percent of the respondents reported receiving a bonus in 2008. While the bonus awards varied, about 18 percent of the financial executives reported a bonus between 21 and 30 percent of their base salary, and another 17 percent reported a bonus between 31 and 40 percent of their base salary.

“This year’s results demonstrate that the combination of the economic downturn and increasing pressure on executive compensation has left a clear impact on U.S financial professionals,” said FEI CEO and president Marie Hollein (pictured) in a statement. “While salaries for this group still saw a boost, the percentage of their increase declined from 2008. This, coupled with the fact that a sizeable number of professionals did not receive increases at all this year, reveals that the current crisis is undoubtedly reflected in the compensation of the C-suite.”

For the third year in a row, the base salaries of public and private company CFOs remained proportionate to companies’ annual revenues. Public companies continued to award higher salary increases (4%) versus their private company counterparts (3.4%).
For the 122 public company CFOs surveyed by FEI, the average annual compensation reported is $410,100, of which $296,800 is the base salary, representing an increase from the prior year survey ($373,100). Bonuses for these CFOs were based on a percentage of their annual salary and ranged from 21 to 70 percent.

Of the 344 private company CFOs surveyed by FEI, the average total compensation was $257,800, of which $199,600 is base salary, representing a slight decrease from the prior year ($262,800). Bonus percentages for these CFOs ranged from 11 to 50 percent.

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