Laws of supply and demand drive pay higher than ever

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A new survey reveals soaring salaries for the likes of senior accountants and junior fund managers.

The survey of 8,800 candidates, by recruitment firm Morgan McKinley, underscores areas of overheating in the financial services market.

Following an average 31% increase in pay, senior accountants working in investment banks can now command salaries of 80k fairly effortlessly. In the accountancy arena, product controllers working with exotic derivatives are best remunerated, however, with salaries of up to 90k.

Richie Holliday, a director at Morgan McKinley, says salary inflation for banking accountants with more than three years' post qualification experience (PQE) reflects the need to pay them more than junior staff, who've also seen pay rise dramatically in the past few years.

"A newly qualified accountant working in an investment bank can now command up to 55k," he says. "Managers have been balking at the fact that they weren't being paid much more than that, so they're just pushing back."

Accountants aren't the only banking staff cashing in. The survey suggests junior fund managers have also seen their salaries leap around 27%, to up to 45k for people with less than two years' experience, and up to 75k for people with up to four years' experience.

Credit analysts and operations professionals aren't doing too badly, either. Credit analysts with two years' experience are now in line for salaries up to 40k, plus a bonus of up to 40%. Operations staff have also seen a 10% to 20% increase in pay. Some OTC derivatives documentation specialists with two to four years' experience are now commanding a comfortable 55k salary, plus 35% bonus.

Robert Thesiger, chief executive of Morgan McKinley, puts the increases down to supply and demand. "Headcount targets in nearly all investment banks have risen in order to handle the increase in business activity, and supply has not been able to keep up with demand," he says. "Banks are upping starting salaries, offering sign-on bonuses and in some cases providing indications of what 2007 bonus payments may look like."

Key figures

Product controller, exotic derivatives

3-5 years' PQE: 65k to 90k plus average annual bonus of 30-75%

Junior fund manager

0-2 years' PQE: 38k to 45k

2-4 years' PQE: 42k to 75k

Credit analysts

2-4 years' PQE: 35k to 50k plus average annual bonus of 0-60%

OTC credit derivatives documentation

2-4 years' PQE: 35k to 55k plus average annual bonus of 25-35%

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