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Evil bonuses lead students astray

Mervyn King has weighed in on the bonus debate. The guvnor says big payouts have encouraged too many talented people to squander their lives in banking when they could have been doing something more constructive instead.

King made his comments to the Treasury Select Committee.

According to the Telegraph, King says young people look at City compensation packages and think they “dominate almost any other type of career … It’s not a very attractive situation that such a high proportion of our talented young people naturally look at the City and think it is the only place to work in. It shouldn’t be. It should be one of the places, but not the only one.”

Talented yoof confirm Merv’s fears. One Cambridge student confesses that he might think of doing a medical PhD or going into the voluntary sector were it not for the fact that he’s leaving university with a 15k overdraft and needs the cash.

“During my gap year I worked at Pizza Hut and earned 200 pounds a week. As a summer intern in an investment bank I’ll be earning 700 pounds a week. There’s no comparison,” he says.

“Put bluntly, yes, people do go into investment banking for the money,” confirms Gordon Chesterman, head of the Cambridge University Careers Service. “But we do work hard to promote a wide variety of other careers.”

Bonuses may not need to be reformed to put students off – mass redundancies should be a more effective deterrent.

However, they don’t seem to have had an impact yet. Martin Birchall, director of High Fliers Research, a company which monitors top students’ career aspirations, says a record number of students want to go into investment banking this year: “Despite all the problems in the City, it’s still as desirable as ever.”

Are you overpaid? Should bonuses be reformed? Have your say below.

Comments (126)

Comments
  1. Untill bonuses are substantially trimmed or working practices in banks become unpleasent enough to be a detterent in themselves people will always consider a financial career.

    The simple fact is few other careers pay as well, despite comparable working hours & stress. Such has been the shiftof the UK economy and such is the expense of further education for other careers (doctors, teachers etc) that it seems finance is the only option for those who wish to start a well paid career quickly.

    The fact finance and the Civil Service are two of the most popular graduate job destinations says much for the inflexibility and lack of real work incentive in the modern British economy. This also contributes to the imbalance of the services industry in national employment, which accounts for the unusually harsh effect the Credit Crunch will have on the British economy.

    No credit = no ready money = no services = no jobs.

  2. Money is a big factor but not the only factor.

    Finance can be very interesting and challanging. If students who want to work in Finance do not have the interest and guts for the City, they should work for another industry because they will not get a good bonus and would not last very long.

  3. I think people dont have the slightest idea what this industry is about when they join. Only $ signs in their eyes….in the end though, no money to spend it and a ruined health after a few years. I have met many students are so naive… they will have hard time adjusting to this environment

  4. The status of working in the City/Canary Wharf is all too arousing for many! They speak loudly on their phones on the train about working in ‘The City’ and ‘the markets’ even if it’s just as an office operative. I guess that’s how we’ve evolved – in tribes of workers bunched by status. I observed that IT and HR were at the low end and everyone else was somehow superior.

  5. I graduated from Cambridge in 2004 and became a trader at a top investment bank. Most of my friends went into teaching, charity, consultancy, PR, journalism etc, turned off banking by the perception of long hours et al. 4 years on, I certainly made the right choice, my quality of life is by far superior to my peers.

    I have a 1.2m property (paid off most of it) and a buy-to-let flat, they are still renting.

    I take 1st class Virgin Atlantic to exotic destinations and stay in 5* hotels, they take EasyJet to Barcelona.

    I live my life without worrying about money at all, they have to watch their wallet/purse for everything.

    I have no qualms paying 20 to go to a nightclub, they walk away when hearing entry fees and miss a night of fun.

    My children will go to 24k/yr boarding schools, theirs will be sent to state grammars, giving them a significant disadvantage for networking.

    And it looks like we all seem to have the same sort of hours, same ups and downs and similar stressful periods. Given the similarity of graduate jobs, the highest quality grads are doing the right thing chasing the big bucks. Trust me it leads to the happiest, best quality of life!

  6. Dear Henry, you speak of material things only. And you are so excessive: the great life on the one hand, misery on the other hand. Of couse almost everybody likes comfort, exotic travels, etc. But material things are not the only thing to consider. People make choices depending on their preferences and some prefer, yes prefer doing things more useful to society than trading or receiving excessive bonuses for M&A. As for the same level of stress, and working hours, it really depends on what you do. A very best friend of I works in M&A and it has become very difficult to just have a coffee. I prefered when we met regularly, and so did he.

  7. Yes Nadia, I agree M&A is awful in the sacrifice it has to your standard of living. That’s why I said trading, where you work 50-60 hours a week, which is the same as many graduates in consultancy, law, PR, media etc, the difference being that you get a lovely annual 6-figure bonus. Whilst they say money doesn’t buy happiness, a 6 figure bonus definitely buys you whatever opportunities / things you need in life to be happy. I see my peers’ standard of living and happiness massively hampered by them being unable to afford the things I can and thus not enjoy the same things. Sure, there may be a minority who actually care so much about what they do that that counteracts paypacket, but for the majority of high quality grads, they’re no doubt doing the right thing chasing the coinage, which all other factors considered equal-ish, no doubt leads to a better life.

  8. nadia – yes Henry speaks of material things, but in Western Society those material things are important in having the capacity to lead a happy life. yes, money doesn’t necessarily buy hapiness, but it can help. without wanting to mis-quote statistics, i believe there is some well-documented research asserting that those who are wealthy RELATIVE TO THEIR PEERS are the happiest and most content. this, living in London, is what Henry speaks of.

    i am in a similar position to Henry, though not quite to the same extent. to have what he has, assuming no outside financial help is extremely impressive inside four years. good luck to you.

    spot n forward Reply
     
  9. Henry – the archetypal fool. In a world where so many find themselves living in desperate circumstance, why is it that young men such as he, feel the need to massage their egos by building great temples to soothe their own insecurities. What price do they place on helping their fellow man? Although, his “friends” from University now work in such “lowly” sectors as teaching and charity, what contentment must they feel from knowing that they make a difference to people’s lives everyday. That these halcyon days that he places such great reverence over allow him to become the greater man and help those of such lesser prosperity than he. Best wishes to you Henry. Peace and Prosperity. ~

  10. I have a PhD in Biophysics and 3 bachelors in Physics, Biology and Psychology. I have always wanted to do science and give to society what mostly interests me, that is, knowledge and cutting edge technology. So when I finished my PhD I started working for a startup R&D company trying to make new generation detection equipment for hospitals, anti-terrorism agencies etc.. Almost three years down the road I am looking to go into quant analysis in the City. I have found that doing what you like makes you happy if there are enough people in your society that appreciate it. Modern english society doesn’t give a damn about science. Examples: open new scientist and laugh at the salaries companies give to scientists even with a PhD or read about the recent budget cuts in natural and health sciences. If society as a whole feels like that, who am I to disagree. If I go to the city I won’t be doing an exciting (to me) job, but it will be less stressful than research and my weekends will be spend in big cities all over Europe. The argument between money and happiness is pretty irrelevant for people who can achieve high goals, and in today’s society the high goals that pay are only in the City.

  11. I think Henry has exagerated on the numbers…

  12. “as teaching and charity, what contentment must they feel from knowing that they make a difference to people’s lives everyday”

    Ha! You would think. They utterly despise their jobs, say how they have to deal with ungrateful brats on a daily basis, and how they wished they’d gone to the city but now it’s too late to start as an analyst.

    “In a world where so many find themselves living in desperate circumstance, why is it that young men such as he, feel the need to massage their egos by building great temples”

    I am an ultra-competitive person, hence a good trader (who was promoted to Vice President 4 years after starting as a grad, age 26). The circumstances of lesser people mean absolutely nothing compared to my goals. Why on earth would I want to waste time helping other people when I can better myself? I’m not going to feel good about helping others when the opportunity cost is a 6-figure bonus (which will be 7 by the time I’m 28). There is no greater feeling than performing head and shoulders above your rivals / competition / peers.

  13. “In a world where so many find themselves living in desperate circumstance, why is it that young men such as he, feel the need to massage their egos by building great temples to soothe their own insecurities”

    You are a complete fool! Why on earth would Henry want to do anything different? Why on earth would you turn down a dream career to go build mud huts for Sudanese people which will last a month, or whatever? Incidentally, the tax Henry pays will go a very long way, and probably make more of a difference than some do-gooder charity worker. But the point is, not everyone cares about wanting to “make a difference” or whatever, why anyone would want to turn down being a slick smart City trader for something paying a tenth is beyond me and anyone I know.

    As the other person said, happiness depends on RELATIVE wealth. If your friends are earning 40k, you will only feel good if you’re earning more than them.

  14. Gordon Chesterman ‘we do work hard to promote a wide variety of other careers’…..in other words, if you don’t want to go into Banking, there’s the option of Management Consultancy or Law..

    Cambridge Graduate Reply
     
  15. The only worry is why Henry works so hard,after early 30s in my experience it’s a doddle in banking. The work is non-esistent & the hours are embarrassingly easy.It’s only the first 5 years that are ”hard”. After that it really is just a hobby. Good luck to all. A few hundred grand a year should not entail hard work.

  16. Peter: It was recently proven that Civil Servants have the lowest job satisfaction in the UK. I also work in the not-for-profit. Helping others is not as rewarding as having the money to enjoy yourself.

  17. Henry, I also graduated from Cambridge in 2004. This sentence makes me weep and makes you an idiot.

    My children will go to 24k/yr boarding schools, theirs will be sent to state grammars, giving them a significant disadvantage for networking

    If you want your 13 yr old child to be presenting a business card at birthday parties I suspect he or she will soon be demolishing your “property” whilst your wife entertains the gardener.

    Please grow up.

    Charlie – IB Reply
     
  18. You sound really happy and not in the least conceited….

  19. Charlie, you know very well that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s about developing a network of friends and acquaintances who will all go very far in life, which will aid your social network at Oxbridge and the City. It is expensive, but unparallelled.

    “also work in the not-for-profit. Helping others is not as rewarding as having the money to enjoy yourself.” – ‘NUFF SAID!!

    ps. VOTE BORIS!!

  20. I’ve enjoyed this email trail… but must add one thing. Henry – I think your a liar!! I graduated in 2005 and went straight into Global Markets at a top US IB in London. Your one year ahead of me (and one bonus ahead as such)… there is no way that as a analyst and now associate you have ‘paid off nearly 1.2m’ mortgage on your own, or travel everywhere first class (PA). Your a joker.
    I’m in Sales (so admit total comp is probably a little less than trading), but still…
    Also – the other points about quality of life & job satisfaction are true… Wish I could do something else but need the money (not from a wealthy family)… and do want to live in a nice house and send kids to good school.

  21. Hi Sales guy, no I have paid off the majority of my 1.2m mortgage already. I didn’t say I’ve paid off nearly 1.2m, I said paid the majority of a 1.2m mortgage. Though I didn’t mention though my girlfriend (a lawyer) also contributes (not a huge amount compared to moi).

    2004 – 37k base, 12k bonus (winter stub), gf studying law.
    2005 – 45k base, 54k bonus, gf 33k
    2006 – 57k base (promoted to Associate), 114k bonus, gf 38k
    2007 – 63k base, 164k bonus, gf 57k (qualified solicitor)
    2008 – 82k base (promoted to VP), bonus to be paid at Xmas, gf 65k

    Also made quite a bit of money at uni through internships, my outgoing costs are quite low (brokers pay for all my dinners and socialising), so overall we (predominantly I!) have paid over 600k off the mortgage already.

  22. A fresh graduate vs over 50K pounds annual package – very few people can indeed say no to it. Imagine a newly graduated engineering student can only expect up to 20K with Vodafone, there is no doubt he will turn to the city for that 50K, let alone the much quicker pay rise in the city.

  23. I agree with sales guy – Henry’s compensation boasts don’t ring quite true and i am on the trading side. Getting enough time to play around on teh internet given you’re vp level is an inconsistency.
    Saying this though, as appallingly arrogant Henry sounds – he isn’t far off!
    Workwise, and money aside, banking, in particular the markets side (IB looks pretty dull from where i stand and too many people assume that’s whta we all do!) is very challenging. Lots of interesting problems to solve quantitative and qualitative. Working for a corporate is slow and repetitive. You just do not have that as a banker on trading, sales and quant (combined with decent-ish hours). “Squandering” their life away is just not true.
    Mervyn King HIMSELF has never been an investment banker (’72-’91 – academia, ’91-today – BoE) so has no clue whatsoever about the day to day work in a IB.
    IBs are still the reserve for the best grads – the vast majority of grads do not work in IB.
    Maybe the government should start improving eductaion of the masses if they are deemed not talented enough by it’s #1 central banker.

  24. ahh ok – looks resonable

  25. “Henry’s compensation boasts don’t ring quite true and i am on the trading side”

    Anon, Derivs – the numbers I posted above are completely accurate and depict well the progress of a top performer at a Bulge Bracket. I frequently have peers, even in trading, who don’t believe me, perhaps because they haven’t produced the alpha I have. And as a trader, you should know that we can spend some time looking at eFinancialCareers on one screen, and are not glued to Reuters for the whole working day.

  26. why is everyone calling Henry a liar? i started in City in 2003, and am not too far behind Henry in comp terms (i am sales/structuring at a tier one IB). some of the stuff that has been written, aimed at Henry, is just pure sour grapes. i mean that line asking (telling?) him to “grow up”, is about as pathetic as anything i’ve ever read. the irony! the fact of the matter is that everyone KNOWS that compensation in I-Banking jobs is way, way out of line with the rest of the market, especially when compared to other “professions” employing similar people, often with very similar levels of qualifications (law, accountancy, consulting, medicine, teaching, mgmt roles at listed corporates etc). one could argue that it is mere chance that some are lucky enough to land in an IB job that is paying 100k+ per year (average for years 1-3) rather than 40k. and i can understand an element of resentment in this respect. but to attempt to dress this up as some sort of moral issue is laughable.

    ps come on Boris indeed.
    pps risk is back on, the markets are bouncing back, and i think that (for some) Jan 2009 may not be as bad as the white press are making out…!

    spot n forward Reply
     
  27. henry – there is just a big delay between writing teh post and the posting – i wrote that based on the paying off the large mortgage comments earlier – not in response to the numbers above (that’s why i sent an acknowledgemnt after – being on low 6 figures is perfectly reasonable)

  28. Thx spot n forward, your comments are sensible and much appreciated!

  29. I can’t tell how much enjoyment I have had watching the great and the good attempt to justify their positions to the beleaguered underbelly of society, whose membership may include myself in the future. However, what some of these cunning linguists fail to recognise is that no one is interested in how much they earn by exploiting market asymmmetries and mispricings of securities. What is more important is why they feel the need to vent their successes to the rest of the world. How sad it is that you only goal and focus is increasing your wealth. Is that what you’ve worked for? Because, if it is, you lead a very empty life. P.S. Don’t confuse brains with a bull market. What we do in life echoes in eternity. The time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end.

  30. “How sad it is that you only goal and focus is increasing your wealth. Is that what you’ve worked for? Because, if it is, you lead a very empty life.”

    Really? Yes, I use wealth and assets as a very good indicator of success. As do a lot of the country’s finest people, like Theo from Dragons Den. How does that mean I’m living an “empty life”? My life is more fulfilled than anyone’s I know, precisely because I have the money to experience the finer things in life, and make the most of my free time partaking in wine-tasting, art galleries, fine restaurants et al, whilst the teaching and accountancy losers sit at home watching Coronation Street and Eastenders.

    My life is superior to my peers, and there’s nothing wrong with telling the world that.

  31. “PE” … why are you even on this website ? !Surely the content is far too materialistic for someone of your moral standards?

    Want some advice?

    Buy into this dip in eurusd.

    spot n forward Reply
     
  32. Henry – you seem to be a successful and happy chap. Well done. You also seem to be a totally materialistic, shallow, egotistical and pretentious individual. Well done. If you are happy living your life with this attitude then fine – just don’t speak to me because I will hurt you. I consider myself to be successful and my earnings are actually more than yours. However, I certainly do not go through life with your attitude and do not consider teachers and accountants to be losers.

    Tarquin Farquar Reply
     
  33. Trading is not the only field where you can make decent money. There are a lot of “accountancy losers” as well as people in management, law, operations and strategy that achieve a comparable lifestlye, granted in their early 30s rather than mid-20s, but then again they didn’t spend their youth waking up at 5:30 and working 60 hour weeks.

    Henry you sound like you picked your gf for her ability to contribute to your housing loan :-)

  34. “Really? Yes, I use wealth and assets as a very good indicator of success. As do a lot of the country’s finest people, like Theo from Dragons Den. How does that mean I’m living an “empty life”? My life is more fulfilled than anyone’s I know, precisely because I have the money to experience the finer things in life, and make the most of my free time partaking in wine-tasting, art galleries, fine restaurants et al, whilst the teaching and accountancy losers sit at home watching Coronation Street and Eastenders”.

    Henry, if THIS is what Cambridge has taught you then you deserve nothing less than to be thrown in the Thames with weights attached to your feet. YOU BRAT!!!

  35. If Henry is for real, how come he keeps coming back to check out this website. Surely he can use his time more efficiently by purchasing himself a personality somewhere. Put simply, not many bankers have got enough time at there disposal to rebutt every point made on chat space.

    Bobby Brown Fingers Reply
     
  36. Let Henry be: he is probably doing what he is best at.

    One question out of curiosity though: why is Henry keen to bring children into this world where they will be taught and surrounded by ‘losers’ as statistically wealth is concentrated in one gender and perhaps 1 – 2 % of the population ?

  37. I can understand the frustration felt by many who embark on challenging careers and who perhaps do not see the financial reward. I respect and admire people who can pursue their dreams when there is no financial incentive.

    My family are made up of doctors, lawyers, bankers, accountants, nurses, NGO specialists and politicians. Having graduated with my masters I simply felt that I wanted a challenging career with a high pay-off. My quantitative abilities coupled to my ability to communicate lead me to believe I could be most useful in the front office and I haven’t looked back since. I have now completed three years of exotic rates structuring and still love my job. I studied hard to get where I am, and I made a decision based upon sound reasoning, applying my skills set to an industry suited to my interests. And yet, I feel castigated daily by my peer group and the media. Any banker will tell you the same, we all chose this industry for the callenge and the pay, otherwise we would have become politicians, doctors, nurses or NGO specialists. The fact of the matter is that once we recieve a basic level of higher education, we all have a choice.

    AL, Canary Wharf Reply
     
  38. Sky News interviewed Boris Johnson’s father and sister yesterday, and they said that the reason he’s been so successful is because of his classical education and Eton upbringing – “when you can learn ancient Greek by age 9, you can do anything”. The 24k/yr for Eton is well worth it to get ahead in life.

  39. Can someone post the compensation packages for the different IB roles? I mean which roles have the best compensation packages and which have the lowest?
    thanks

  40. For al, Student:

    To the best of my knowledge,

    1) Prop Trading desk
    2) Trading Desk
    3) Sales
    4) Quants
    5) Structuring
    6) Market Risk

    They all have their pay-offs, but my advice is to stick to your interest,otherwise you’ll find it tough. Generally Analysts will recieve 35-45, Associate 50-60, VP 65-95, Director 90-115, MD 110-150.

    Remember, the aim of the game is in the bonus. The pay-off is fitting into what suits your interest and ability.

    AL, Canary Wharf Reply
     
  41. For Henry:

    I agree with most of what you are saying. We all go into the industry with more or less the same ambition.

    A little modesty along the way would help ease the bad rep us bankers get. I got my BSc from the LSE and the I did my MSc from Stanford yet I could never feel good about pontificating about status or earnings. It seems that you have a decent education but not a trace of fortitude with regard to others. Not really a lesson you want to be passing to your children, regardless of their 24k tuition fees.

    AL, Canary Wharf Reply
     
  42. AL (Canary Wharf), you think Structurers get paid less than Salespeople? Hilarious.

  43. On the comp issue, it is very difficult to put together an accurate “one size fits all” table as above. The problem is that there are huge disparities across asset classes, and (in the case of sales) client type. Very broadly speaking i agree with AL above; across the market top prop traders will indeed earn the most – they can get 10-20% of profits, and some books can make $50m and much more.

    However, top sales people can too earn very large sums, and i’d agree with AL that their total comp can be in excess of that made by people on structuring desks. Important job that structuring desks do, the issue here is that their “PnL contribution” is often difficult to attribute; one could argue that a particularly profitable trade was more down to the sales skills of the coverage person (this is often the case). Additionally, once a new product has been created by a structuring desk, it become the proprietary (intellectual)property of the bank, with less ongoing incentive to compensate structureres. On the other hand, departing salespeople can often take large volumes of flow with them to a rival house, and compensation often reflects this, almost in retainer fashion.

    spot n forward Reply
     
  44. Very interesting spot n forward. Where I am, for comp, traders and structurers are regarded pretty much on par (except for a hardcore few top traders). An average structurer makes a lot more than an average salesman, a good structurer much more than a good salesman. Yes anomalies exist, but Structuring is a very hot area, where many of the most ambitious, numerically talented grads choose to go over trading.

  45. Henry, I would say that going on total comp, the sales guys make more. I have a ghost PnL of over 10 million EURO, but I can be very sure that the sales guys I assist make more based upon the fact that they are principally responsible for revenue generation.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think as a structurer I have a more interesting and rigorous job but I have no doubt the sales force end up with more by years end.

    AL, Canary Wharf Reply
     
  46. AL – agree with you entirely. Where i work, the structuring desk work harder, longer hours, and don’t get the benefits associated with client entertainment that the sales desk do. And from what i can see, notwithstanding the senior/management-level structurers, sales staff get paid more like-for-like.

    spot n forward Reply
     
  47. agree with you Henry though that structuring is a fashionable area, and that it is increasingly attracting top graduate talent. additionally, in many asset classes, the sales-structuring distinction is becoming blurred. the best salespeople often act as their own structuring resource, and the top structurers develop client relationships of their own. this is particularly prevalent in corporate FX where much of the flow is now moving onto trading platforms, with (notwithstanding EM/long tenor/very large trades) little interaction needed on vanilla business.

    spot n forward Reply
     
  48. “My children will go to 24k/yr boarding schools, theirs will be sent to state grammars, giving them a significant disadvantage for networking.”

    Nowt wrong with the local comp. Quite happy with my 180k bonus (after 3 yrs IB experience).

  49. to AL, Canary Wharf, Derivatives,

    thanks for the data. But where does an Analyst fit? I mean the role of analyzing balance and business.

  50. Anonymous… you’ve lost me?

    AL is talking about roles in banking to begin with (as in areas of the bank) and thereafter gives colour on approximate salaries for front office professionals in such roles. “Analyzing balance and business” sounds more like a strategy type roll, which would be less remunerative. “Analyst” in the context of which AL speaks refers to someone with aprrox 0-3 years experience.

    spot n forward Reply
     
  51. Could someone tell me how salaries for analysts in research compare to those in structuring or sales?
    And what are the key differences between structurers and quants?

  52. salaries for most front office areas will be broadly similar. trading, sales & structuring may earn SLIGHTLY more in base that research, but it’s nominal. AL’s rundown of level-apprx GBP salary is accurate. all bar snr (snr) management earn less than 150k apprx BASE, but for successful bankers salary is unimportant (some would disagree, for instance in terms of getting leverage on a mortgage) but the fact of the matter is that bonuses, after 2-3 years tend to outstrip salary. it can be several multiples. this is where research professionals would tend to fare less well. total comp for a decent VP in a top tier IB sales/trading/structuring would be 90 base + 180 to 450 bonus. This would vary from bank to bank, asset class to asset class, and is hugely market-condition sensitive. For top performers the latter number could well be larger, though contrary to what the press would have you believe, there aren’t that many working in non-snr mgmt ib roles / hedge funds / pe partners that are earning seven figure USD bonuses plus.

    spot n forward Reply
     
  53. Anonymous Student, at analyst level, you can make more if you’re an outstanding research analyst than a poor structurer. But overall your typical structurer and salesperson will get a fair bit more than a research analyst, but within this sort of range –

    1st Year analyst: 36-40k base, 30-55k bonus
    2nd Year analyst: 42-45k base, 70-150k bonus

    The 150k is only if you’re an outstanding structurer, in a small group with huge P&L, realistically a decent salesperson or structurer should expect 100-125k at the end of their 2nd year.

    And then you get moved to 1st Year Associate on 55-62k base and 150-250k bonus.

    Obviously this is during normal periods, if you’re at UBS or Citi over 2008-09 divide all the above numbers by 4, lol.

  54. MI – I wake up later than 5.30am, and work less than 60 hour weeks. Another stupid stereotype.

    Henry–when it comes to your bonus you are all numbers when it comes to your conditions you are all of a sudden “more” and “less.” You figure out why (at 5:45 :-).

    Why are you raving about Boris? He is in public service which according to you is equivalent to a loser. How does that make you look?

    All in all you seem confused but that’s OK–you can always try and get professional help (not likely on this site though). Good idea to start the thread–people like AL and Tarquin got to post meaningful comments.

  55. MI – you appear to be addressing yourself? All those hours crunching accounting numbers have numbed your mind…

    Re-reading i think that you meant to use quotation marks? Trying to belittle something that Henry wrote, perhaps?

  56. MI, you’re making an absolute prat of yourself. Once again you make a pile of incorrect assumptions. No wonder you weren’t good enough to get into banking and had to settle for Big 4 mediocrity.

    I don’t need to say what time I wake up or how many hours I work, the fact is they’re both substantially different to your assertions. No, I don’t wake up at 5.45am either. Or 6am. Or 6.15am. Or 6.30am.

    And where did I claim that anyone in public service is a loser? There’s not a clear private/public cut here is there – a Prime Minister or Mayor of London is not a loser. An accountant not good enough to get into front office banking clearly is.

    You have truly failed in life.

  57. Henry, don’t try to gauge what I’ve settled for cause you’ll be off the mark.

    The fact you wake up late makes you a lucky exception or a liar (and since you said you don’t care about f***ing up others to achieve your goals lies won’t be an issue for you either).

    You said yourself you consider ppl who went into journalism, teaching etc losers and Boris is a former journalist too. Or do they stop being losers once elected to a higher position?

    Thank you for your free life assessment that made me laugh at the end of the working day :-) Later in the evening you might start to produce even funnier outputs. Will check them out tomorrow cause I’m going home now :-)

  58. The numbers seem mind boggling. I’m having a hard time understanding how people that young can be adding that much value (apparently if shareholders tolerate it).

    The world I work in (asset management institutional sales in the US) is very different… The mantra here is all about patience.

  59. MI – Different asset classes have entirely different working hours, there are plenty of us who can wake up at 7am or later.

    LH – Age is irrelevant, in plenty of desks in Sales/Trading a grad is doing the same level of work as a senior, and if a meritocratic desk where they don’t have artificial glass ceilings on client calibre / trade volumes, they have every potential to generate enormous revenues from day 1 (well, give them a few months to learn all the tricks).

  60. Henry, stop trying to pass off your opinions as facts. You may believe that your life is superior to your peers but your peers may believe their lives are superior to yours using different measures. Just accept that it is only your opinion.

    Also, what makes a banker better than an accountant? A lot of accountants are people who consciously choose not to go into banking because they don’t want to work with people like you.

  61. Michael, people like me, the highest calibre, best quality, talented, rounded, skilled, ambitious, driven graduates around?

    Yes, exactly. The calibre of Big 4 graduates is drastically inferior to those in front office banking. You can get into PwC and Deloitte these days with a 2.1 from any university. Those grad schemes are brimful of antisocial losers who got rejected from investment banks, and have truly failed in life.

    Sure Michael, enjoy your pathetic 26k starting salary mediocrity, inability to purchase massive property and take 1st class Virgin Atlantic to 5* hotels on tropical islands, and keep telling yourself that your life is somehow better than mine. Hilarious.

  62. No, I don’t mean the highest calibre, best quality, talented, rounded, skilled, ambitious, driven graduates around. I mean d*ckheads.

  63. Michael, thx for the reasonable comment.

    In fairness Henry makes some good points such as the fact that you can make more dough as a recent grad in his field than most any other and you can progress faster. He also deserves credit for stating boldly that he doesn’t care about f***ing up other ppl to reach his goals as most people who do that won’t admit it.

    Where his story starts getting shaky is his working conditions. All the ppl I know in sales trading and research whine a great deal about having to clock in at 7:15, enduring crazy hours and working weekends. Henry here says this is a myth, which one of the best jokes I heard lately, so I had a belly laugh (thx Henry).

    Basically H doesn’t want to believe that people in other sectors can make the same money once they reach mid to senior-mgmt levels, while busting their asses half as much as he did in the uni and after it. That’s OK–he will pick it up later.

    The world does not consist of bank front office and Big 4 as H describes it. And there is something to what Mervyn says. Working on important projects is more satisfying then spending your life clicking transactions on a screen and then trembling how turn out.

  64. MI, people in trading, sales and research have to work weekends you say? What? You realise the markets they work on are, erm, shut on weekends? Barely any salesperson or trader would have needed to come in on a weekend to do any work. Research analysts may have to work weekends occasionally, espesh if they need things out for Monday, but can do that from their laptop in a garden on the weekend.

    As for working hours, you don’t seem to understand that this depends on what product you’re involved in and where. An equity sales-trader at JPMorgan gets in at 5.15am. A commodity salesperson at Deutsche or BarCap gets in at 8.30am.

    If your friends are whining about having to work a 10-12 hour day (which absolutely flies by) then they’re really not cut out for the job.

  65. i don’t know a single trader who has ever worked a weekend. or indeed past about 6pm.

    (ok occasionally, you’ll work beyond 6, but this is literally 2 to 3 times a year)

    spot n forward Reply
     
  66. Henry, Spot–I don’t know anyone in FX so I take your word on this. My friends (levels associate-ED) whine on working 14 hr days. And they don’t just whine but also do them on a regular basis which is the sadder part.

    Michael-don’t get your opinion on the people working in this area wrong. I personally know a bunch of great guys in investment banking and some real jerks in corporate finance (come to think about it I know real jerks in almost any functional area).

    George–if you are still hanging around–don’t be hasty to discount your aspirations for a science career. It’s perfectly OK to go and do something else for the cash for 10-15 years and then return to science. A lot of fine people have done that and still do.

    I don’t have anything more to add so bye folks–do post in other topics too :-)

  67. MI – you’re clearly a decent chap, and see a balanced argument. fair play to you. and agree on a change of career late in the day… nothing wrong with this, and something i fully intend on doing perhaps in 10y time!

    spot n forward Reply
     
  68. Talented Yoof! is that right Ali

  69. Sales and Trading is not for everyone. Its a tough world out there, and some fail, some succeed. Its a competitive environment second only to professional sports. Talent and skills need luck and opportunity. I’ve seen many come and go, some who failed to grasp the concepts, some who failed to grasp opportunities, and some through plain bad luck. The industry no doubt pays well, anyone who has even an itch should try it. The worst that can happen is that you will have worked in the most stressful and challenging environment you will ever know. What does not kill you makes you better, but in this job, for many of us, what you receive in money you pay for with your life (and hair, or hair colour)

  70. Thx Spot :-)–‘preciate it especially since your comments were among the most sensible in the thread (not a chap but equally interested in a good career so have been working in male dominated environments for the most part). Good luck with your transition later on I am sure it will turn out fine.

  71. The banks are to blame for this surge because they present the notion that finance/economics can be learnt in a short while or whilst on the job.Many graduates of finance/Economics/Banking are being let down by employers who prefer to take on e.g a graduate of engineering/english all because of a higher grade on graduation.However they seem to forget that the finance graduates had earlier on in life set their focus and priorities right as oppossed to those allowing themselves to be drifted by the winds of money.Is it possible for an accounting graduate to take a mechanical engineer’s job? Never..so lets set the records straight.

  72. John, Global Custody – somewhat agree, though banks don’t care so much about grade attained as prestige of the university. Without a shadow of a doubt I’d pick a Cambridge Theology or Philosophy student over an engineer from an inferior uni like Manchester, the former is much more likely to do well with client networking, schmoozing, entertainment. For the non-client roles fair enough.

    To everyone who’s suggested I’m wrong about wanting to send kids to a 24k/yr school like Eton, here’s an article in The Guardian today about the benefits:

    “I’ve heard lots of people from independent schools say this – creating networks at a very early age. When we’ve done these studies, we’ve said to people, ‘Was it at Oxford that you got to know everybody you know now?’ And they’ve said, ‘No, actually it was at school that I met a lot of these people.’ While the rest of the population are hanging around, just being teenagers, there’s a small proportion of the population who are already developing the networks that will help them in later life.”

    http://education.guardian.co.uk/publicschools/story/0,,2279015,00.html

  73. John? I can barely hear you, yelling from up on that high horse! I have to say that i strongly disagree (i’ve worked in sales/structuring & trading at two Tier 1 IBs). Being successful in financial markets has very little to do with degree subject. Or indeed degree at all. Some of the best traders are lacking in a formal education, but have experience and an aptitude for risk. Granted, in 2008, a higher education is necessary as, let’s be honest, EVERYONE goes to university, and the skills (hard and soft) that you learn there are invaluable for any career.

    But this idea that finance-grads are somehow better able to do a job on a trading floor is laughable. Often these people come in and (a) overanalyse things when time is of the essence and (b) think they know it all, when the real steep point on the learning curve is market conventions, execution and managing sales-trading relationships… all things that you learn precisely zero about at university (notwithstanding a small number of very specialised Masters courses).

    spot n forward Reply
     
  74. u don’t strike me as a Guardian reader, Henry!

    p.s. agree with you for most of this discussion but very much disagree on the issue of Oxbridge vs other “top” universities!

    spot n forward Reply
     
  75. I don’t really believe that Henry, FX & Money Markets, actually works at a bank or in financial markets. In fact I wouldn’t be suprised if he’s an ex-City recruiter having a laugh. He’s prompting everyone to vent their anger and frustration at him for the sake of it.

    Tarquin Farquar Reply
     
  76. I am going to start by thanking everyone for a good read and fair play to everyone who are earning the specified amounts stated through hard work. I am graduating with a Msc in finance this year. However, i have not had an internship so i am not sure what area i would be most suited to. What i do know is that my numerical ability is not strong enough for areas such as trading, yes it is alot better than average but i am trying to be realistic when it comes to the recruitment process. Therefore, what division would people advise me to have a closer look at to apply. Insight from experienced individuals would be helpful. thanks.

  77. What are the skills required for a student to be a good trader? And what is asked during hiring, tons of brainteaser? How can one understand if he is good or not.

  78. Henry hahaha … I follow all your comment and love it. I am graduated from Ecole d’ingenieur Nancy, France… not Cambridge… I started in 2004 with 40K. Cambridge must review their salary… I am VP now but I went through AVP state before the VP… promotions follow Markov chain principle and you cannot jump a state… please you are AVP at the best not VP… may be the jump diffusion process work their and tell me with whom do you slip to get that bump?

    IRD structuring and trading Reply
     
  79. IRD structuring and trading – where do you work, and what have your performances been like relative to your peers? HUGE disparity between shops (big diff tier 1 and rest) and also between top performers (top 10%) and rest.

    MSc & Al – you can be an excellent flow trader with “above average” numerical skils. Granted, unlikely you’ll be able to trade exotic products, but trading is more about the ability to stay calm under pressure, manage risk, and retain discipline… cross enough b/o spread, combined with letting winning positions run, and stopping out of wrongs ones in a timely fashion and you can be very successful. In terms of questions at interview, a decent base knowledge of the global macroeconomic landscape is a must, some ability to understand how traded markets operate… forget brainteasers, either you can answer these or you can’t. Instead do some spreadbetting with small stakes; feel what it’s like to be holding a position.

    Good luck.

    spot n forward Reply
     
  80. Very amusing to read all your comments.

    Tarquin, you seem a very insightful person I think you may hit the nail on the head…….

  81. IRD, what are you talking about? The AVP position is not widely used in London – at my bank only a few people in Operations and Tech have it. For Sales & Trading, if you’re good you spend 2yrs as Analyst, 2yrs Associate then become VP. Vice President by age 25-26 whilst peers are just starting their career only earning 30-40k is a wonderful feeling!

  82. Everybody please stop respondoing to Henry – ibanker and tarquin have figured out who he is and by the way I don’t think he is doing it just for the sake of it – he is employing a well used method in information gathering. Henry is doing this to obtain market intelligence about compensation packages and sadly, you have all fallen for it.

    Ignore him!

  83. Henry really sounds like : “i will impressed them by exposing all of my fantasies. After 4 years i have a 1.2m House, well i wish it was true but they won’t know!”

  84. Spare a thought for all those graduates joining technology. I graduated top of my computer science masters course at Oxford. I joined a top bulge bracket in 2007 work 8am-8pm for 35k a year and receive an insultingly small bonus of 1,750. To add to the insult I’m told by my director that I’m one of the best in the team and that I can “get more work done in a day that some in a week”. But that’s what you get from a randomly allocated back office trade management technology rotation. I consider myself tricked.

    I’m rotating to Algo trading in July where hopefully my efforts will be appreciated as I’ll be working for a trading cost centre as opposed to a technology one.

    A Poor Technologist Reply
     
  85. I would like to expose Henry for who&what he really is:

    Real name: Shifty B’Stard

    Employer: Non-desript, business development focused, recruitment agency

    Purpose in life: To make 50k a year for as long as possible and then retire to Grays to open a theme pub

    Sorry Henry, the game’s up…

    Tarquin Farquar Reply
     
  86. Well this certainly has been a very Gud read…highly entertaining…
    Just a couple of points to add…henry my friend u consider teachers to be losers u forget that someone somewhere was a teacher to you! and trust me u have most certainly made him/her feel miserable cos the thot of teaching someone like u could make the dead turn in there grave!
    and most certainly he woudld not want to read this!!

    As a former technologist myself…trust me i feel ur pain..but the one thing that eases the pain is the passion for technology! thats why u should never go into it if u don’t live breathe die for it basically be a geek! cos thats what it is!

  87. there i was thinking that this discussion had died!
    maybe Henry is a recruiter masquerading as a trader, maybe not? you may think that i don’t work in sales/structuring, but i do. you’ll have to trust me. fact is that the details that Henry has stated with are accurate (though at the top end of the spectrum for someone at his level).
    we can all complain about the inequitable situation caused by the compensation of traders/salespeople, but it’s down to supply and demand. fact is that there are only so many that can do the job WELL. there are many that can’t and frankly, they don’t get paid so well, or quickly find themselves out of a job. furthermore, working on a trading floor is a demanding & stressful environment: not everyone cut out for it, or would enjoy it. i have plenty of friends in other professions, who earn fractions of what bankers do, despite being equally/more able than i. could they do my job better? no. why? because they like the easy life too much; only interested jollies. bankers have a different mentality, they realise that life is expensive, and to enjoy it later on (for most) you need to put in some hard yards (and have a bit of luck along the way).

    spot n forward Reply
     
  88. haha – spot & fwd – that is so true. nail on head. all these people earning relatively good wage, and spray it all up wall… they spend twice what i do despite earing far less. i think banking teaches you valuable skills about real life economics. man on the street isn’t going to know what’s hit him in 10-20y time.

  89. There is a very good saying: “Why traders earn so much for adding so little to economy.” The answer: “Because WE are awesome!”

    Exotic Derivatives Trader Reply
     
  90. I have a Phd from Cambridge and the CFA and i can tell u that Henry talks rubbish!

  91. “I am an ultra-competitive person, hence a good trader (who was promoted to Vice President 4 years after starting as a grad, age 26). The circumstances of lesser people mean absolutely nothing compared to my goals. Why on earth would I want to waste time helping other people when I can better myself? I’m not going to feel good about helping others when the opportunity cost is a 6-figure bonus (which will be 7 by the time I’m 28). There is no greater feeling than performing head and shoulders above your rivals / competition / peers.”

    :-D Ahahahahahah that guy is a joke! Well, in fact he forgot to add that he was born 2008 years ago in a small cowshed somewhere near Bethléem… So all of us, lesser people, can’t understand…..

  92. By the way, Henri, as a top investment banker with 80 hours weeks and competition in mind where do you find the time to indulge us with your wisdom? You alone wrote more post than all others contributors… ;)

  93. how on earth does your PhD & CFA qualify you to say Henry’s talking rubbish? (again, not wanting to focus on whether or not Henry is who he says he is, but the data that he’s supplied IS PRETTY ACCURATE).

    PhD/CFA man – you are a typical example of young people that i come across from time to time, trying to get jobs in dealing rooms: extremely bright; right school, right uni, always a flawless CV, a route into see the deskhead through a friend of the parents etc etc. I don’t dispute your ability, and i’m sure you’ll end up doing well, maybe even in banking, but the fact is that right now you don’t know diddly squat about financial markets, or what goes on on a trading floor. i can only think that by being on this site you, you want a career in the city? if you want to go places, i’d drop the “qualification attitude” pretty quickly!

    spot n forward Reply
     
  94. Sorry Sir for having an opinion. I didn’t say anything about numbers. I just say that i have the same “elite formation” than him but i don’t consider myself as the best of the best compare to “lesser people”. He is outrageously pretentious and what he says is mostly rubbish in my view. If you don’t share it no problemo.

  95. fair enough, and re-reading my post it sounds a little aggressive, but i am surprised that people are coming in saying “this is rubbish”, “that’s not true”, citing some kind of better knowledge (i.e. probably their own comp, and that of those around them in their Tier 2/3 shops)? Nothing against these people, or where they work, but they should realise that top performers at top banks earn (even in formative years) can earn stupidly large amounts.

    spot n forward Reply
     
  96. Absolutely spot on, spot n forward. Nothing frustrates me more than people asserting that I’m lying or talking nonsense, just because they’re lower calibre so will never experience the numbers I’m talking about. I’m talking a good desk in the front office of a bulge bracket, nothing less. And the comments about how I manage to spend a few minutes a day posting on this site when I should be so busy at work if I’m making so much money show an unbelievable ignorance about the relationship between alpha generation and work input. Seems to be a lot of naive people here thinking that if they do a BSc -> MSc -> PhD -> CFA -> MBA and work really hard they’ll be financially successful. Fortunately other things matter a lot too. Such as, a public school network of buy-side clients.

  97. Apparently we don’t share the same values. But thank you for admitting u were aggressive. Again, i AGGREE with the numbers simply because i’m not that young and in fact i earn much more than him so i know he is not exaggerating at all. But he talks rubbish anyway concerning life in general. Spot n forward, please read his last post : u have to aggree that he thinks he is a god! “just because they’re lower calibre so will never experience the numbers” Who the f”%& is he to talk like that !? I’m quite sure he is lesser calibre than Gandhi but Gandhi would never have reached the numbers… This is non-sens, so your value only lies in how many $ you get? So a man who buys the right euromillion ticket worth more than u my poor Henry! Sad

  98. If you think I’m equating “calibre” with amount of $ received you again show incredible ignorance. I’d much prefer the company of an attractive, public-school McKinsey consultant on 70k than some chip-on-shoulder inferiority-complex oik in cash trading on 200k.

  99. So do i. So we agree

  100. I read these ridiculous messages once a month out of interest in human nature. You people manage to shock and disgust me every single time and I must admit nothing else has this effect on me.. Even if Henry is fake,people like him do exist and they were either neglected or did not have a proper childhood. The fact is that losers like him will eventually realise their mistake, after their wifes leave them and their children commit suicide.. On the positive side they will probably be rich enough to have a swimming pool by that time so they wont need to pick a bridge like common people do.

  101. catherine, you are a typical example of the “(wo)man on the street” who believes what they read in the Left-wing press. yes, there are some unhappy (to the point of being suicidal) bankers, though they are few and far between. do you know which profession has the highest rate of suicides? didn’t think so. well i’ll tell you: it’s the medical profession. why don’t you go onto a website for doctors and make disparaging remarks about them?
    fact is that it’s fashionable for (invariably jealous) people to have a pop at people in the financial services industry. most bankers that i know have a far better family life than people doing other jobs. whether they’re less well paid or not isn’t really relevant. ok so i get up early, but then so do my kids to go to school. they get home at 4pm, and i’m back before 6pm three or four days out of five! many of my friends can’t boast such “time riches”.
    seriously, you have no idea whatsoever about city life. i’d like to hear other opinions from people who actually have an informed view on the subject?

    spot n forward Reply
     
  102. I never went to oxbridge or any of the elite ones… went to a sheep-banger uni in wales. My CV doesn’t stand out amongst them all but the way I made my mark was to invent a trading strategy which I shamelessly boasted about at interviews. I landed my dream job in Algo Trading at a BB with 60K basic, ridiculous bonus and now in my second year with slightly more bearable working hours. One thing I will say to people like Henry is reap your bonuses while you can. It wont be long before us AlgoTraders have you jobless on the streets cursing the ones who developed computers!

    AlgoTrading has arrived traders. Watch out!

  103. Hilarious Catherine. What makes you think I’m a “loser” who was neglected or didn’t have a proper childhood? I had the most wonderful upbringing with loving parents and extremely high-quality teachers (increasingly a rarity these days) who taught me the skills to differentiate myself from peers and the ambition/drive to be a true success. The “losers” are the people my age earning less than 30k in a job they don’t like after not making the most of the opportunities that came their way. Once again, my standard of life, happiness, satisfaction and contentment is easily superior to 99% of my peer group.

  104. hahaha great comments by Henry…the ones that disgree are comlete loosers

  105. Bang on George. I am finishing a PhD in automotive engineering, an interesting field which I love and which is also a hobby, but as you say, the salaries proposed to me after 4 years of stress and no weekends from engineering firms are laughable if not damright insulting. The UK has the potential to be at the forefront of technology by my experience has been, no resources, no commitment, no energy, no vision. High-Finance and quant/strategy jobs suddenly look very appealing indeed, especially if you have already considered a move in this direction years ago, but held out to engange in more intellectually stimulating problems of society…happiness is about the lifestyle you want and city salaries go a long way to satisfying many of the pre-requisities in my case.

  106. It is a very strange article, especially the part about the student “thinking of doing a medical PhD or going into the voluntary sector were it not for the fact that he’s leaving university with a 15k overdraft and needs the cash.”
    He would make a lousy IB, this guy. People like that don’t last in the industry,no way!
    IB is a way of life, money attached.

  107. To be honest apart from shameless and concieted nature, I agree on alot of comments with Henry. IB gives us the financial security want. I am from one the most economically deprived areas in UK the first thing I was thinking about when I chose my career path was how much does it pay? I then became hell bent on a career in IB. I ended up at second teir Uni (partly because I did not have clue about where to apply and what was good!) but I will be working for a leading European IB Firm. I think as this summer dawns upon the more I think maybe the City isn’t for me. I am not Oxbridge educated and/or prim and propered like Private School most kids (but I do think I am better than most I have seen). I won’t cut some down just to make myself look good which is an underlying culture which seems to exist in the city. I think there is more to life than money, this is compounding my disenchantment for a career the City .

  108. Following on from up there:
    I really now want a career in Stratergy Consulting but because I am at a Second teir Uni NO one will Interview me(now one of my regrets is not trying for Oxbridge and LSE). In IB, I didn’t get many interviews but I was successful at all of the ones I did get so I think I am probably good enough but no one gives me a shot in Consulting firm. Politics is another options but the foregone Financial gain from IB will be difficult to leave behind. Henry is right on the Eton/Westminster points, that they provide a real advantage in any area life. But I do think he has overplayed the luxury lifestyle, luxuries are there because they are elusive so when we(ordinary people) can actual indulge in them they are special but for you Henry they seem no more than a bargaining chip for your arguement. Cut away the chauvinistic behaviour and arrogance how happy are you?

    Anyways some of my opinions, interesting debate which makes ME worry is the CIty all its really cracked up to be or is it all just about Sex, Drugs and and a big Bunch of arrogant A*rsehole!

  109. this makes for some very interesting reading indeed. being a work-shy trader, i have actually read all 110 previous comments. it’s been, at times, qui te gripping.

    Henry – sounds like an unsavoury chap, though much of what he says is toungue in cheek (either that or i’m surprised that he works for a top bank – he wouldn’t last). That said, most of what he cites (boasts)re comp is fair comment, albeit top end for mid-junior tradess. He never says what asset class he trades in either, and this makes a big difference.

    long+short of it Reply
     
  110. Henry,

    Why are you so proud of sending your children to network at Westminster or Eton? So they may live their lives in a square mile for 10 or more years broken up with one 5* hotel after the other………champagne tastes the same no matter which city you are in………….i’m sure whilst they’re getting muddy playing polo you’ll enjoy thinking how they can have everything you’re aspiring to be………..it seems a shame they won’t be able to decide for themselves what is worth working hard for.

  111. Henry is a very sad human being, I know that sounds rich coming from someone within IBD. However in reality we are all driven in the city by money, but not to the extent at which we are soul-less or so arrogant that we consider all non-banking workers as beneath us. Money is great, but having a good life is better… (Money does not always = a good life). You will perhaps realise this Henry when your children resent you for buying them.

  112. I think Principal makes a good point – I’ve found that (after a certain level at which my basic needs were met) my salary level did not really affect happiness. Whatever you can afford becomes ‘normal’ (whether this is tap water or champagne) and the more you earn, the more you have to spend to get a thrill. I grew up poor and remember having a real sense of appreciation for the rare treats we got – I eat out a lot now, fly off for holidays etc and don’t really feel I appreciate it as much because it has become ‘normal’.

    The one exception to all of this is that I would absolutely love to be able to buy a house. With this one exception (and I’m sure a career in investment banking would have helped enormously with this one) I am happy as I am – and would still be happy even if I were on less money. Happiness is not about money, and it is the most important thing.

  113. So Henry someone ” taught me the skills to differentiate myself from peers and the ambition/drive to be a true success. The “losers” are the people my age earning less than 30k in a job they don’t like after not making the most of the opportunities that came their way. Once again, my standard of life, happiness, satisfaction and contentment is easily superior to 99% of my peer group.”

    Ahahahah I love that guy! He really sounds like those books which teach you “How to become successful in life in 10 lessons” or “From success to greatness in 2 weeks”.

    A loser (aka a man who’s not like Henry) Reply
     
  114. For principal : don’t worry, guys like Henry are a minority. People are quite cool and down to earth on average but of course there are some black sheets. What you have to understand is that people over-arrogant like hime were like that before they came to the City and they would have been the same notwithstanding the industry they work in.

  115. I am a student interested in trading and I don’t really care about the figures boasted by Henry. What annoys me more is the fact that he calls everybody else than him or his peers (if there are) total losers. He is actually depending everyday on dozens of “losers” to live while they don’t really need him…

    This article shows that some great grads that could have been very useful in areas like medicine are attracted by the City and its bonuses. I don’t blame them for choosing such a profitable track. But I do blame them if they criticize all the people that make less than them !

  116. i don’t exactly disagree with what you’re saying, but if you’re not interested in the “figures”, then i might suggest that a trading (or indeed any City) career is not for you.

    this isn’t for the weak or faint-hearted; like it or not, it’s ALL about figures!

    spot n forward Reply
     
  117. Wow, how far up his own arse is Henry?! Send my kids to 24k/yr boarding schools. You probably won’t ever have kids and even if you do it will probably be with some golddigger who will take all your money anyway plus you’ll never see your kids and they won’t respect you. You are a total joke. Why don’t you use your money in a more useful way. Hell Warren Buffet is one of the richest guys in the world yet he lives off 50k a year and gives the rest away. You aren’t even a fraction of the man’s finger.

    Either that or you’re just having a laugh.

  118. Although Henry’s comments seem pretty immature I still would like to have a lifestlye like that,

    I am 21 and have just graduated from Nottingham with a 2.1, the problem is that already at this young age, I have probably missed the boat having been unsuccessful at gaining an internship last year. I wish I could have a lifestyle in which I could easily provide for my family but now it’s just got a lot harder…so it seems I have to apply for other jobs which are not IB

  119. Interesting comments all round.

    I have worked in IB for the last 6 years. All I would add is don’t assume the last few crazy years are actually steady state.

    Put “Henry’s” numbers in context – he worked in a hot (probably the hottest area) in the hottest time and was a Tier 1. What do you think the guys doing the dotcom IPOs were making?

    Where I think he has gone off the reservation is in thinking he will continue to get paid like this. Guys let me tell you, the last few years were an aberration. First year analysts do not generally make 150% base.

    Lastly to “Henry” – I think you are lying.

    On the basis of the numbers you provided, from 2004 – 2007, your girlfriend and yourself made a total of 674,000 – pre-tax. With tax of say 30% (more like 40% but maybe you have some student loans to offset) that would be c.475,000. With a 15% deposit (as you said), then 180,000 went on deposit. That leaves 295,000 for your mortgage.

    Hence for you to actually have paid that much off your mortgage, you would have needed to use every single penny of your joint earnings, paid no interest and gone on zero 5* holidays…

    …pull the other one mate….

  120. “The circumstances of lesser people mean absolutely nothing compared to my goals. Why on earth would I want to waste time helping other people when I can better myself? I’m not going to feel good about helping others when the opportunity cost is a 6-figure bonus (which will be 7 by the time I’m 28). There is no greater feeling than performing head and shoulders above your rivals / competition / peers.”

    Henry, there’s nothing wrong with being competitive, hardworking and ambitious, but you’re beginning to sound EVIL…..

  121. I once said to my dad that my goal is to make more money than him. My father – a MD in a BB firm, told me that in life there are a lot other meaningful things to do other than make a lot of money, while apart from achieve things, whats equally important is to be a good human being.

  122. Hi,

    I am a student thinking about applying to Cambridge to study Economics, I have carried out research in relation to city jobs, in particular, investment analysis roles. I don’t believe bonuses are a bad thing for students as they motivate young academics in their studies and to become involved in extra cirricular activities, standing one in good stead for future life.

    I believe the purpose of life is to provide first and foremostly for the immediate circle of family, secondly to donate around 10% of income to good causes.

    One factor what people despise about city workers are Henry, why get a first class education?; find a wife?; and have kids?; just to come and taunt people about his salary on a careers website?; seems nuts to me when he has the perfect scenario.

    The comments about material objects are correct, people want status but why?

    Also totally un-related – BAN ALCOHOL!!!

  123. I think this is interesting.

  124. Im a student and something I have found through interning at a major IB in the city is that these guys know that when they look back on their careers there will be nothing to be remembered by just a well done and a good pension. Henry you say you strive to be better than other people but when you retire at 30 there will be far more people in lesser jobs who will be remembered far more than you and hence will have achieved more in their careers. Whether that is by people whose lives they have saved, pupils they have taught or orphanages they have built. The only reason you are on here writing such articles is to get some kind of recognition from the public for what you have achieved as know you will get no such recognition when you finish. As you have found out nobody cares.

  125. Hi,

    I am a student currently doing an A level equivalent B tec qualification. I want to pursue a financial sector career although not necessarily IB. I was wondering first of all what course would put me in the best position for a financial sector career? I.e economics, accounting and finance?

    I am also able to get internships in this sector through friends of my dad but they are not with schemes they are just with financial advisors and people of that sort in smaller businesses. I was wondering if this experience will still be as valued by universities and employers?

    Thanks for any input :)

  126. If Mervin and the rest of society want to ensure that their best talents don’t go off to investment banks then there are two easy steps:

    1) Pay them more

    2) Stop screwing up traditional career structures. Young doctors and academics in particular have had the structures of their chosen careers decimated by perpetual government meddling (by both conservatives and labour – in fact they are at it again now). Many people might take a financial hit and stay in academia or go into medicine if they could at least be offered a steady job IN ONE PLACE. Right now you are expected to spend 10-15 years running around chasing temporary junior positions and (particularly for academics) not getting paid very much to do it. And by that I dont mean ‘not getting paid enough to run your Farrari’, I mean not getting paid enough to run your household and pay your mortgage.

    On the other hand, if you are able, you can go and work for a bank for 10 years (where if you change jobs you can at least stay in the same city) and then do what you want with the rest of your time. And of course this can be something ‘worthy’ if you so wish.

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