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The boutique bank that paid 26 year-olds $800k this year

It's become a matter of lore that investment banks didn't pay well in the last bonus round. Fees were down and so bonuses were down. Sometimes bonuses were down a lot. But this does not mean that junior bankers were badly paid.

Far from it.

Results to the latest compensation survey from Instagram account Litquidity reveal that some juniors in M&A and capital markets jobs at top investment banks and elite boutiques were still paid more than $400k as associates, and that some boutiques paid a lot more. 

Data from Litquidity, shown in the table below, suggests that - once again - it was boutique firm Centerview that paid the most this year. Litquidity's data suggests that third year associates at Centerview (aged ~25) earned $800k in total compensation for 2022. This compared to a mere $385k average at Morgan Stanley, where there was a lot of grumbling about this year's bonuses, probably as a result.

Centerview's generosity was unsurprising given that it regularly tops pay league tables. More surprising were Credit Suisse's 2022 bonuses. - Having decided to pay its juniors in three tranches vesting in April, July and October, Credit Suisse also seems to have splashed out, particularly compared to Deutsche Bank and UBS.

4,000 people responded to Litquidity's survey, but it's not clear how many data points there are for individual banks. Beyond first year VP, Litquidity says there's "limited data".

Centerview's generosity means it pays an average of $2.6m over the first five years of a career there. This compares to $1.4m at Goldman Sachs and $1.5m at JPMorgan. Barclays is the best paying European.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • JJ
    30 March 2023

    So.....nominal numbers a little below those in 2000. Ouch

  • lo
    3 March 2023

    Moelis is incorrectly displayed on graph; should be $2.2m

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