Salary survey: Asia on top, equity derivatives trump credit

eFC logo

The latest salary survey from search firm Napier Scott suggests Asian MDs now earn more than anyone else. And equity derivatives pay better than credit.

Napier Scott's 2008 salary and bonus survey suggests managing directors working on exotic credit trading desks at tier one banks in Asia commanded average total compensation of 1.5m (US$3.0m) for 2007.

This was 45% more than their counterparts in the UK, and 117% more than the relatively impoverished senior credit derivatives traders in the US.

The survey, which covered 3,000 bankers, also revealed that London-based equity derivatives traders and structurers are now paid more than their credit derivatives counterparts.

A London-based director in credit derivatives structuring at a tier one bank earned a total package of 565k last year, down 36% on 2006.

By comparison, a London-based director in equity derivatives structuring at an institution of similar calibre earned 700k, up 16% on the year before.

Shaun Springer, chief executive of Napier Scott, says the strength of Asian packages reflects competition for talent, "and the Asia region being relatively less battered by the credit crisis."

He also says this is the first time equity derivatives professionals have earned more than credit derivatives professionals in the survey's seven year history.

The great credit exodus

Russell Clarke, director of search firm Mantis Partners, says, however, that pay for credit derivatives professionals varied by house. "At Goldman and BNP Paribas, the most successful structured credit houses in 2007, people were paid close to expectations. At most houses, senior people saw bonuses cut 20-40%, and at low levels some people received no bonus at all."

Clarke adds that higher pay in equity derivatives is helping convince people to quit credit. "The human tide in derivatives is definitely flowing away from credit - equities and commodities are the favourites at the moment."

According to Clarke, credit professionals with experience of working on hybrid products are best placed to make the move.

2008 Salaries and bonuses:

Exotic Credit Trading and Credit Structuring

Director - UK (Tier 1 bank)

Exotic credit trading: 105k (salary), 460k (bonus)

Down from 105k (salary) and 780k (bonus) in 2007

Exotic credit structuring: 100k (salary), 335k (bonus)

Down from 100k (salary) and 660k (bonus) in 2007

Director - US (Tier 1 bank)

Exotic credit trading: 85k (salary), 260k (bonus)

Exotic credit structuring: 80k (salary), 190k (bonus)

Director - Asia based (Tier 1 bank)

Exotic credit trading: 80k (salary), 495k (bonus)

Exotic credit structuring: 80k (salary), 610k (structuring)

2008 Salaries and bonuses:

Equity Derivatives Trading and Structuring

Director - UK (Tier 1 bank)

Equity derivatives structuring: 105k (salary), 595k (bonus)

Up from 105k (salary) and 600k (bonus) in 2007

Equity derivatives trading: 105k (salary), 695k (bonus)

Up from 105k (salary) and 685k (bonus) in 2007

2008 Salaries and bonuses:

Commodity Derivatives Trading and Structuring

Director - UK (Tier 1 bank)

Trading: 85k (salary), 390k (bonus)

Structuring: 95k (salary), 430k (bonus)

Source: Napier Scott