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Financial executive compensation takes a turn for the better

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If you’re a CFO, controller or VP of finance, the job market is looking as good as it has in years. Job openings and pay for non-banking finance executives are both on the rise.

The average salary for financial executives at public and private companies in the U.S. was up 3.4% and 3.3%, respectively, for 2014, edging out the overall salary increase in the marketplace, which stood stagnant at 3%, according to a new survey from accounting firm Grant Thorton.

However, public companies still pay their top financial executives way more than most private firms. The average corporate controller at a public firm is taking home around $273k in base salary this year, easily trumping the $129k paid to their private firm counterparts. VPs of finance at public companies average $236k in salary, compared to just $166k at private companies.

Bonuses for CFOs, controllers and VPs at public companies more than doubled those granted to financial executives at private firms.

Things are positive on the hiring front as well. At public companies with more than 5,000 employees, finance and accounting headcount is up roughly 20% year-over-year. Part of that increase can be attributed to companies hiring more full-time employees rather than contractors, who aren’t counted as traditional staff.

Hiring rates at private companies are more modest, but still up. The number of finance and accounting staff at companies with 250 to 499 employees is up 8% in 2014 from 4% a year ago. Larger private firms report a 4% increase in full-time financial employees, up from 2% a year earlier.

“Now that the economy is improving, organizations are growing and beginning to staff up to the levels before the downturn, in part to retain people who have been working so hard,” said Ken Troy, director in Grant Thornton LLP’s Compensation and Benefits Consulting practice in Los Angeles.

Rookie CFA Test Takers Leave Angry (eFinancialCareers)

Nearly every single Level I CFA test taker offered the same sentiment: they went in confident, thinking they were prepared, and got blindsided by the difficulty of the test.

Getting Hired by Goldman’s Strats Group (eFinancialCareers)

If you’re someone with a mathematical bent, for whom challenging math questions are elementary and differential equations are fun, there is – allegedly – one place where you’ll feel especially fulfilled in banking: Goldman Sachs’ ‘strats’ group.

CEO Bonus Slashed (Bloomberg)

Interbroker dealer ICAP cut the bonus of Chief Executive Michael Spencer by 75% after the firm missed certain profitability targets. He’s losing more than $3 million.

ABN to Cut 100 Jobs (Bloomberg)

Dutch bank ABN is exiting its equity derivatives business and shutting its Asian markets business. It’s cutting roughly 100 jobs as a result. The markets division will remain in the U.S.

Understanding Operational Risk (Reuters)

The billions in fines banks like Citi and J.P. Morgan have paid in recent years are now hurting them on a second front. These banks are now being forced to hold tens of billions more in capital to hedge against future litigation. As we’ve seen, tighter caps mean fewer assets and often fewer jobs. However, banks will also likely need to add more people within operational risk as a result.

Divorce (NY Post)

The world’s highest paid hedge fund manager is getting divorced. David Tepper, head of Jersey fund Appaloosa Management, is reportedly splitting from his wife, Marlene.

SAC’s IM Ban (FIN Alternatives)

Point72 Asset Management, formerly known as SAC Capital Management, is prohibiting most employees from using instant messaging services to communicate externally. Most banks have already done something similar in an effort to eliminate collusion.

Buzz Around the Office

Detroit Goat-Free Again (Dealbook)

After careful consideration, Detroit has asked hedge funder Mark Spitznagel to take his goats and go home. Spitznagel made news earlier this month by dumping 20 billy goats off in the worst part of the city so that they could graze on the overgrown grass between abandoned homes. Apparently he forgot to consult with Detroit officials on the foolproof idea.

Quote of the Day: “Money managers are unhappy because 70% of them are lagging the S&P 500 and see the end of another quarter approaching. Economists are unhappy because they do not know what to believe…Technicians are unhappy because the market refuses to correct and gets more and more extended….The public is unhappy because they just plain missed out on the party after being scared into cash after the crash. It almost seems ungrateful for so many to be unhappy about a market that has done so well …” – legendary Merrill Lynch strategist Bob Farrell (via Business Insider)

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