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The investment banks that pay their control staff comparatively well. And the investment banks that don't

Want to get paid for policing bankers?

UBS will no longer be paying performance-related bonuses to staff in its corporate centre.  From now on, anyone working in HR, marketing or communications at the Swiss bank will simply get a bonus equal to half their annual salary irrespective of how well they perform. It's a move that's meant to save management time and to liberate UBS bosses from the pain of allocating bonuses. It also, however, highlights the differences between working in a front office investment banking job and working behind the scenes.

Following last week's revelation that some control staff at Deutsche Bank are paid a lot more than others, we've scrutinised leading banks' remuneration reports to establish how well various banks pay their control staff compared to their bankers and traders, and the staff in their corporate centres.

The results are presented in the chart below, which shows average pay per head in US$ for material risk takers (MRTs) at each bank by functional area in 2017 (the last year for which these figures are available).  Figures for U.S. banks are taken from UK pay reports only (U.S. banks don't disclose these figures globally). Not every bank breaks out these figures, hence Swiss banks are absent.

MRTs are typically senior staff (eg. most managing directors are MRTs), so the figures below are far more than you'll earn if you're working as a junior compliance officer or accountant in the control functions of any of these banks. The figures do, however, give you an idea how much banks value their control and corporate centre staff versus their bankers and traders.

The implication, then, is that JPMorgan and Bank of America value their control staff most in relation to their traders and that Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs value their control staff least. Similarly, corporate centre staff at Goldman Sachs International and Citigroup Global Markets (especially) are very well paid, while Bank of America's are paid the least. If you work in compliance, risk or audit in particular you might want to take this into consideration when you're contemplating where to work.

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Photo credit: Getty / Evgen_Prozhyrko

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Yv
    18 February 2019

    I honestly think it is impossible that any UBS employee within corporate services receives a half year bonus and that JPM support staff makes 3x what MS support taff makes... I think you should definitely question your sources.

    There was a time efinancial articles were a relatable source of information, seems like this is fading away lately

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