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Best and worst paying jobs in Finance

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In its latest study, Emolument.com analysed 4,000 salaries from senior finance professionals (directors) working in London, to find which are the highest and lowest paying jobs. Results show that investment banks are still home to most of the City’s best paying jobs, while rating agencies and research firms cannot compete with asset managers nor banks when it comes to pay.

Five best paying jobs:

Industry Job Salary Bonus Total
Banking M&A £168,000 £140,000 £308,000
Banking Trading £175,000 £120,000 £295,000
Banking Institutional Sales £175,000 £113,000 £288,000
Banking Structuring £164,000 £105,000 £269,000
Banking Origination & Syndication £162,000 £103,000 £265,000

 

  • Banking is still the place to be: Despite regulatory constraints on bonuses following the 2008 financial crisis, bankers still earn more than those working for asset management firms or rating agencies, with median pay packages of £308,000 for Mergers & Acquisitions professionals.
  • Is the bonus era definitely over? Bonuses used to represent the bigger part of a banker’s annual compensation packages. Over the last ten years, base salaries have progressively increased partly to allow for larger bonus payments (which should rarely exceed 100 per cent of base salary). In line with regulation, bonuses are now lower than base salaries.
  • Is there money outside banking? Away from banking, the most profitable jobs are VC investors (£242,000 per year) or a buy-side trader (£240,000)

Five worst paying jobs:

Industry Job Salary Bonus Total
Asset Management Risk & Actuary  £118,000 £24,000 £142,000
Rating agency Rating Analysis  £111,000 £28,000 £139,000
Rating agency Research / Economist  £110,000 £24,000 £134,000
Banking Middle & Back Office £102,000 £26,000 £128,000
Asset Management Middle & Back Office  £92,000 £20,000 £112,000
  • Poor, poor back office: In both of the asset management and banking industries, back office directors trail far behind front office professionals at £128,000 at investment banks and £112,000 at asset management firms, i.e, less than half the amount earned by M&A bankers(£308,000).
  • Same industry but vastly different revenue, and pay, models: Two of the five lowest paying jobs in finance are at rating agencies. And the highest paying one (data vendor) only ranks 28 out of 41 overall.
  • A matter of perspective? The lowest paid professionals (middle & back office working for buy side firms) earn £112,000, which still places them among the UK ‘s top two per cent earners. 

Alice Leguay, Co-Founder & CMO at Emolument.com said: “While base salaries have increased in the last few years, regulation has squeezed banking bonuses.

“Meanwhile, buy-side firms, especially those not subject to pay regulations such as hedge funds and VC firms have been looking increasingly attractive for bankers looking to retain top paying positions in the industry.”




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