Do you really earn less working for a European than for a U.S. bank in London? Popular opinion would have it that you do. But popular opinion may be wrong: our analysis suggests that if the European investment bank you work for is either Credit Suisse or UBS, you'll be paid on a par with people at U.S. houses. - Or at least, this appears to have been the case for last year.
Both UBS and Credit Suisse issued UK specific remuneration reports for 2017. They're not new, but they are buried on the Swiss banks' websites and we've only just come across them. If you're weighing-up whether to join either bank in London, they are both informative.
Firstly, it turns out that Credit Suisse and UBS pay senior staff in their London investment banks very similarly. The average pay per head figures in the chart below are not for managing directors per se, but for material risk takers or code staff. These include both MDs and individuals with the ability to expose a bank to significant risk, but are a reflection of senior pay. UBS has 419 of them in its investment bank in the UK.Credit Suisse has 351 in its combined Credit Suisse International and Credit Suisse Securities Europe businesses (which house its global markets and investment banking operations in Britain).
Secondly, it seems that neither Swiss bank pays especially badly compared to big U.S. investment banks in London. U.S. banks haven't all released their UK remuneration reports for 2017 yet, so the figures in the chart below are drawn from our analysis of their 2016 figures instead. However, even if pay increased by a few percentage points last year, the pay discrepancy between Swiss banks and U.S. banks would not be huge.
So how can you optimize your pay at a Swiss bank in London? As the chart below shows, Credit Suisse looks like the place to go if you want a big bonus - or at least it was in 2017. If you really want to get paid though, you're advised to aspire to a management function in the investment bank at UBS. - Last year, there were nine senior managers in UBS's UK investment bank and they earned an average of $5.8m each.