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Who earns the biggest bonuses – sales, trading, or research (redux)?

Big, bigger, biggest

Big, bigger, biggest

If you work in the markets division of an investment bank, where can you expect to earn the highest bonus? In sales? In trading? Or in research?

Popular perception suggests that research professionals are the poor relations. The revenues and profits associated with research activities are opaque and headhunters tell us researchers’ pay is often capped at a ‘low six figure sum’ while salespeople and traders get to eat a portion of what they kill. As if to confirm researchers’ lowly position, equity researchers at Citigroup have been dribbling out of the bank after (allegedly) being disappointed with their 2013 bonuses.

And yet…figures from our 2013 bonus survey suggest that on Wall Street at least, researchers were among the best paid markets professionals in 2013. As the chart below shows, they received an average bonus of $62k, compared to $54k in trading and $50k in sales. Maybe researchers are less hard done by than they like to make out?

U.S. research bonuses, 2013 

sales, trading, research redux

Source: eFinancialCareers bonus survey 2013 

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