English: Private bankers are scarce and the type of bonus incentive scheme banks use to attract and retain them plays a vital role in ensuring that they are motivated to perform in accordance with the outputs expected from them. This study assesses the perceptions of private bankers at a major South African private bank of their current discretionary bonus scheme and of the alternative mechanistic approach. The results indicate that they are dissatisfied with their current scheme and prefer one that incorporates many, if not all, aspects of a mechanistic approach. The subjectivity of management and an unclear ‘line-of-sight’ were common reasons provided by the private bankers. This study is the first of its kind to focus on the perceptions of private bankers regarding their bonus incentive schemes in the South African context.