Fund management could be more lucrative than investment banking and fund managers are actually hiring

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When it became apparent earlier this week that the highest paid director at California-based Pimco earned twice as much as JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon for 2011, it raised a few eyebrows (or at least it should have). Suddenly, fund management appears far better remunerated than investment banking.

Pimco’s high earner was not an exception. The company’s latest annual accounts, completed for the year to December 31, 2011, reveal that average compensation per head across the company last year was over $1 million. At Goldman Sachs International, average compensation (at the last count) was $807,000.

However, other fund managers don’t exactly pay badly: average compensation per head at Threadneedle was $524,000 for the last year it reported (2010); globally, Schroders paid an average of $278,000 last year – which compares favorably with investment banks; Aberdeen Asset Management paid $233,000. Schroders details some deferral measures in its remuneration report: 50 percent of senior managers’ bonuses come in the form of shares/"performance awards," the most punitive of which vest over four years and require that certain hurdles be met.

Look: hiring!

Even if fund managers do defer a portion of pay, like banks, it’s worth noting that – unlike banks – they appear to be hiring. Schroders’ first quarter results, unleashed today, reveal a slow but steady increase in headcount. Pimco Europe added 63 people last year, increasing its headcount by 38 percent.

At Schroders:

Hiring is happening, agrees fund management headhunter Chris Manfield: “There are pockets of activity,” he says. “Emerging markets, equity, credit funds. There’s always stuff going on in asset management, and there’s always a need for people with good distribution skills.”

Samantha Donald at asset management search firm Shepherd Little sounds a little less sure. “It’s pretty quiet,” she says. “There is recruitment going on, but not in the volumes we had five years ago – and there’s less happening than this time last year.“

Editor's note: This article first appeared on our UK site but is applicable here as well.

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