"Most managing director level base salaries are now between 130k and 160k," says Lee Thacker, a partner at search firm Heidrick & Struggles. "125k was the natural cap until last year or so, but the headline base salary has risen this year after banks launched flexible benefits packages allowing people to receive further cash through tailoring their benefit structures. Certain benefits, like healthcare, can now be purchased from a cash allowance."
David Howell, managing director of recruitment firm EM Financial Services, confirms MD base pay is less basic than it was: "Salaries for MDs are now typically around 160k to 180k," he says.
Senior bankers are unlikely to rush out and celebrate, however. Inflated base pay may provide a safety net if things turn sour and bonuses disappear, but for the moment Thacker says even the exalted figures typically equate to just 10% of total compensation.