UK M&A pay 60% higher than in France

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A new salary survey underlines the pay disparity between the Anglo-Saxon world and France.

According to the latest salary survey from recruitment firm Robert Walters, French mergers and acquisition (M&A) staff can expect to earn a meagre salary of €70,000 to €100,000 after five years. In London, similarly experienced M&A staff are awarded salaries ranging between 75,000 (€110,000) and 120,000 (€176,000).

Even quantitative specialists, said by Robert Walters to be one of the hottest areas of the French hiring market, are ill-rewarded compared to international colleagues. In France, Robert Walters says quantitative researchers can expect a maximum salary of €160,000 after 11 years. That may sound quite reasonable, until you consider that top quantitative analysts on Wall Street command up to $400,000 (€338,000).

Robert Walters, chief executive of the eponymous company, says pay in France is likely to remain low for the foreseeable future. "The investment banking sector is smaller in Paris than it is in London or New York," he says. "A lot of French business is driven out of London, and punitive French tax rates limit the amount that companies can afford to offer staff as an incentive."

Robert Walters' survey coincides with news that Badouin Prot, chief executive of French bank BNP Paribas, saw his pay rise nearly 30% last year, to €2.29m ($2.8m). While undeniably generous compared to the amounts paid to lowly product controllers, Prot's package was distinctly parsimonious compared to his counterparts at US banks. Hank Paulson, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, made 13 times more last year, for example.