Are you ready for Frankfurt? The beautiful surrounding villages, the pleasant commute. the clean air? And, the very low pay…?
Despite previous indications that some people in Frankfurt are doing very well (eg. that Frankfurt-based head of FX trading at DB who received a €2.7m bonus six years ago), other people in the German financial centre don’t seem to be paid well at all.
Take J.P. Morgan’s “key risk takers” in Germany. According to the recently released results for JP Morgan (Deutschland) AG , the bank’s 12 German risk takers were paid a total of €3.7m in 2015. That’s an average of €310k each.
Figures for J.P. Morgan’s London operation aren’t yet available for 2016, but in 2015 the U.S. bank paid its 644 UK risk takers an average of €990k. In other words, pay in London appears to be three times as high.
Maybe this is to be expected? The European Banking Authority (EBA) regularly releases figures showing that London leaves other EU cities in the dirt when it comes to euro millionaires in financial services. This is one reason why aspirational young European bankers have flocked to the City for decades.
Before getting too worried about the potential for a post-Brexit collapse in your income, however, you can console yourself with the thought that the J.P. Morgan’s huge pay discrepancy may have more to do with the nature of J.P. Morgan Deutschland AG than anything else.
Although J.P. Morgan’s Frankfurt operation has all the usual corporate finance, fund management and asset management functions, the bank’s German operation is far more oriented towards sales, advisory and private banking work than anything else. J.P. Morgan has very few (if any) traders in Frankfurt – its German markets business is run by Gunnar Regier, a J.P. Morgan veteran of 18 years whose focus is fixed income sales. Equally, like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan’s German business is comparatively low on senior staff – most of the bank’s MDs are in the City of London.
This means that although pay looks lower in Frankfurt overall, it’s actually comparable for people doing similar roles. “Pay in London and Frankfurt is almost the same,” says one German headhunter with knowledge of both cities. “Base salaries here can even be higher than in London when you compare euros to pounds, although bonuses are sometimes a little lower,” he adds. If you really want to see low pay, he suggests you look at Paris, or maybe Madrid. A move to Frankfurt would be getting off lightly in comparison.