Which Salaries in the Investment Advice Sector Went Up and Which Went Down?

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In the world of independent investment advice, salaries for the past several years have been better to operations managers and chief investment officers than they’ve been to client services pros and sales directors, says a recent comparison of Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) salaries from 2007 to 2011.

Sales directors at RIAs saw a 9 percent base salary decline over that four-year period, while CIOs saw their base salaries increase 4 percent over the same time frame. Human resources execs also saw a significant salary increase at 8 percent. The greatest gains were among company presidents, CEOs and managing partners who received an average 12 percent bump up in pay. Marketing directors’ salaries were nearly flat.

The latest comparisons are based on the 2011 InvestmentNews / Moss Adams Staffing & Compensation, which queried advisors between April and June of this year. RIA salary breakdowns are as follows:

Salaries increased in all of these categories:

President, CEO or managing partner

2011 base salaries: $214,000

2007 base salaries: $135,000

Percentage change: +12 percent

Human resources director

2011 base salaries: $95,000

2007 base salaries: $69,334

Percentage change: +8 percent

Operations manager

2011 base salaries: $70,000

2007 base salaries: $56,400

Percentage change: +6 percent

Chief investment officer

2011 base salaries: $140,00

2007 base salaries: $120,000

Percentage change: +4 percent

Chief compliance officer

2011 base salaries: $85,000

2007 base salaries: $75,000

Percentage change: +3 percent

Chief operating officer

2011 base salaries: $130,000

2007 base salaries: $116,000

Percentage change: +3 percent

Chief financial officer

2011 base salaries: $120,000

2007 base salaries: $105,000

Percentage change: +3 percent

Director of marketing

2011 base salaries: $88,026

2007 base salaries: $83,843

Percentage change: +1 percent

Salary levels declined for these job titles:

Director of sales

2011 base salaries: $92,914

2007 base salaries: $137,500

Percentage change: -9 percent

Manager of client services

2011 base salaries: $55,000

2007 base salaries: $65,000

Percentage change: -4 percent

Outside of the RIA space, advisors with the largest base salary increases from 2007 to 2011 included estate specialists and tax specialists, according to the Investment News/Moss Adams survey. Among those who saw the largest payment declines, titles included director of sales and manager of client services.  Estate specialists booked $101,577 in estimated 2011 salary versus $64,992 in 2007, for instance. Tax specialists earned $85,000 in 2011 salary versus $64,992 four years earlier. Sales directors made only $92,914 in 2011 salary versus $137,500 in 2007.

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