The investment banks at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley slashed compensation in the fourth quarter, responding to political pressure that will probably persist as details of bonuses for their top executives emerge in coming weeks.

The three Wall Street firms set aside $39.9 billion for pay in 2009, below the 2007 record of $44.7 billion. The total fell short of the $46.1 billion five analysts estimated this month and is almost $10 billion less than what some analysts were estimating in October.

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