Prime brokerage pays in operations

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If you work in investment banking operations, prime brokerage looks like the place to be.

Salary figures from recruitment firm Poolia UK suggest prime brokerage (pb) operations professionals typically earn between 5% and 20% more than colleagues elsewhere in banking ops. And pay is reportedly increasing at a rate of around 5-10% a year.

Michael Barrington-Hibbert, banking team leader at Poolia, reports particularly strong demand for client relationship managers who combine banking experience with language skills - Eastern European languages (aka Russian) are particularly in demand.

Prime brokerage divisions of investment banks service hedge funds. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley dominate the prime brokerage market globally, with a 40% to 50% market share. But UBS, Deutsche Bank and - most recently - Bear Stearns are muscling in on what is a lucrative area. Lehman Brothers, for example, partially attributed a 42% increase in its first-quarter equity capital markets revenues to the dynamic prime brokerage sector.

Barrington-Hibbert says UBS, HSBC, RBS and Bear Stearns are all likely to add to their prime brokerage operations teams this year. A few weeks ago Lehman hired two senior prime brokerage staff to boost its European operations, for example.

Poolia's prime broking pay claims are confirmed by the recent salary survey from Morgan McKinley. This found that total compensation for mid-ranking prime brokerage settlements staff (with around two to four years' experience) rose nearly 45% in the past two years, to an upper limit of 71.5k. And senior pb settlements specialists (with four to eight years' experience) are reportedly now on total comp of 135k.

Prime brokerage salaries

Cross product collateral management and margining

0-2 years' exp: 30k to 40k

3+ years' exp: 40k to 60k

Supervisor: 60k to 75k

Manager: 75k to 90k

Head of dept: 90k+

Cross product valuations

0-2 years' exp: 30k to 40k

3+ years' exp: 40k to 60k

Supervisor: 60k to 75k

Manager: 75k to 90k

Head of dept: 90k+

Prime brokerage settlements

0-2 years' exp: 30k to 38k

3+ years' exp: 38k to 50k

Supervisor: 50k to 68k

Manager: 68k to 85k

Head of dept: 85k+

Prime brokerage client services and middle office

0-2 years' exp: 30k to 40k

3+ years' exp: 40k to 50k

Supervisor: 50k to 68k

Manager: 68k to 85k

Head of dept: 85k+

· Source: Poolia UK

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