Where in the world do senior investment bankers earn more? It’s not where you think

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Could it be – senior investment bankers in Frankfurt earn more than those in London? Yes, but only very marginally, according to new research released this morning.

Emolument, the real-time salary data specialist as it likes to be called, suggests that MDs in Frankfurt earn a median of $850k, while those in the City take home $839k. Wall Street comes in third in its rankings – which polled 488 senior bankers across significant financial centres across the world – with an $800k median for MDs.

The appeal of higher packages in Frankfurt has to be mitigated against the comparative lack of opportunities for senior bankers there. As an example, Goldman Sachs employs a couple of hundred people in the German city, compared to over 5,500 employees in London.

What’s more, Emolument’s figures also contrast with others released by the European Banking Authority late last year, which suggested London was the only place to work if you want to earn significant money as an senior investment banker. It said that there were 2,188 investment bankers who earned over €1m in 2012 – the latest figures available – compared to just 100 in Germany and 117 in France, the nearest competitors.

The New York figure is split exactly equally between bonus and base pay – namely, $400k for each – despite the fact that Wall Street doesn’t have to adhere to the European bonus cap. Most cities across Europe have predictably hiked up base salaries to comply with the rules, with bonus close to 50% of total compensation, as the table below shows.

Hong Kong and Singapore both pay over a higher proportion of comp as bonus – 54% and 60% respectively – compared to 50% in New York and 51% in London. What’s more, as Emolument points out, once the low rate of income tax is taken into consideration, bankers in Asia actually end up with more in their pockets.


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