Are Rothschild's new MDs the most fortunate people in finance?

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Rothschild is not like other banks. While most banks pay and promote people at the start of each year, Rothschild pays and promotes on July 1st (changing to April 1st as of next year).

Rothschild's bonuses and titles have therefore only just been allocated. Analysts have become associates, associates have become VPs, lucky VPs have become directors, and the luckiest directors have become managing directors (MDs). This was also a biannual "partner year" at the bank: since 2014, Rothschild's most senior people have been promoted to partner and given increased pay, although no voting rights.

Who was promoted? Despite claims from London recruiters that Rothschild is "top heavy" and has made very comparatively few promotions (albeit more than Lazard which promoted no MDs at all in London for three years between 2012 and 2015) this year's U.K. promotions were reportedly on a par with the past.

This doesn't mean they were plentiful. The bank is understood to have promoted only a handful of new MDs in London, including Niall McBride, a former director in the bank's debt capital markets (DCM) business, and William Marshall, a former director in equity capital markets (ECM).  It's not clear who was promoted in the U.S., but Rothschild's recent habit of hiring in MDs from elsewhere (eg. Paul Klepetko and Michael Speller from Credit Suisse and Aashis Mehta from Lazard) may have stymied the potential for internal advancement across the Atlantic.

Becoming an MD or partner at Rothschild is a big deal. You'll get access to the company butlers. You'll also benefit from exceptional job security. While the average tenures of MD and partners at Goldman Sachs are thought to be 11 years and eight years respectively, MDs at Rothschild are more likely to go on and on (and on). Akeel Sachak, for example, has been global head of Rothschild's consumer investment banking business for at least 12 years and has worked there for nearly 32 since leaving Christchurch College at Oxford University. Recruiters say that MDs who reach the top at Rothschild rarely leave (arguably making it difficult for those below them to get a look-in). If you make it, you're set for life and remunerated generously. Even 10 years ago,  Sachak already had a family home in Surrey, a flat in Kensington, and an Aston Martin to drive to work in.

And if you don't make it? You'll have to wait. Most are happy to do so - there have been fewer resignations at Rothschild this year than in the past. Recruiters, however, say they're finding Rothschild juniors and mid-rankers disgruntled by the recent pay round knocking on their doors: "People at Rothschild don't feel like they've been paid well for the work they've done," claims one. "It's can be hard to progress there and there's some frustration."

The most recently available annual report for N.M. Rothschild in the UK, ending March 2016, shows the bank paying its 706 staff an average of £332k ($429k). This includes pay for 256 support staff, and is likely to have been higher for the 422 advisory bankers and 28 asset managers.


Photo credit: 2004 Aston Martin DB7 Zagato by  Spanish Coches is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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