Working as an operations professional in investment banking does not hold the glamour of the front office, nor does it offer the sort of salaries that attract the best and brightest. Add in the fact that these functions are currently being shipped off to ‘high value’ locations and a career in the back office doesn’t sound overly appealing.
And yet, in many areas, operations recruitment is on the up and salaries and bonuses are beginning to rival some revenue generating roles. So far, 2014 has been “exciting and unpredictable” for operations hiring, with regulatory initiatives like Dodd-Frank and Emir pushing up both vacancies and pay, according to recruiters Morgan McKinley.
Regulatory reporting and client services are particularly busy areas, it suggests, but the biggest demand is for operations professionals with “exposure to syndicated and bilateral loan products, who can interpret, understand and review loan agreements”.
At the junior end of the market, base salaries are not dissimilar to those on offer in the front office, according to Morgan McKinley’s figures. Average salaries were £40.1k, it suggests, whereas entry level front office salaries are £45k, according to research from High Fliers. A diminutive bonus of £2.3k, however, shows where the differential between the front and back office lies.
At the top of the tree, investment banking operations professionals are still doing rather well for themselves. An average salary of £201.6k, combined with a 68% bonus of £137.7k, means an average compensation package of £339.4k, according to the figures compiled by real-time salary data specialist Emolument.
This seems healthy, but Emolument’s figures suggest an average compensation package of £545k for MDs working in M&A, a sum that rises to £710k within US investment banks in the City. Even senior technology professionals earn upwards of £500k, according to recruiters.