Large fund Associate Market Comp opinions



Hey guys, trying to get a sense of where people think market is for real estate acquisitions associates, 3-5 years of experience.


My view is ~$375-400k all-in cash comp in NYC/LA/SF. 


Would appreciate any thoughts or recent headhunter conversations.

 

Large but non-mega fund pays $250-$300k. Mega funds or super elite places should pay in the range you listed 

 

I’ve been in the market for a while now, unfortunately.

Megafunds will pay ~$300k for first year associates and move up to your range as you get closer to the five YOE mark. Larger firms that aren’t necessarily megafunds will pay a 15% to 20% discount to megafunds. Smaller firms have the largest variance with some paying top dollar and others quoting embarrassing numbers.

These numbers are NYC specific. LA/SF generally don’t come close to NYC numbers for whatever reason.

 

No reputable shop is only paying $150k to $200k all-in for associates (in NYC). This discussion is specifically for large funds and the $150k to $200k all-in number is way too low.

MSREI and JPMAM were both hiring for associates this past year and their salaries alone were at the $150k mark (NYC requires salaries to be visible). I would say those two are good examples of reputable but not megafund tier shops. All in for this tier of shops should be $200k to $2500k all-in for first year associates.

 

There is generally a stark difference in pay for PERE vs. development (no matter how well known) at the junior level. Players like Blackstone, Brookfield, Starwood, etc. are going to pay 250k+ for associates. OP is asking more for these.

 

If you think 3-5 years of experience is a 400k job, what are you expecting to be making as a VP or SVP

I feel like 200-250k is more reasonable, otherwise there wouldn't be so many associates that still have roommates in NYC...

 

Maybe everyone on this site is the top [insert position] in the country and will end up with million+ salaries, but I doubt it. 

I will make 7 figures assuming my carry hits, but getting here was pretty fucking hard. And honestly, I would still be super happy with my high 6 figure cash salary even if my carry disappeared.

 

I know they exist, but I've never heard of a single associate making $400k. More common is $200k - $300k and i also know many places that pay $125k - $200k that have no problems lining up solid talent to take that. Reason is that people get into RE for a long-term career vs. something like IB where you're in it to make a lot of money quick then dip to something else. Point being that folks are less concerned about juicing their earnings as an associate and more concerned about getting the right experience to land their career VP position and/or get into a firm that they want to stay at long term. 

 

ASO1 at top MFs (KKR/BX) make total of ~315K all-in, which is in line with corporate pe, credit, and other strategies, all the way through the senior levels (although it becomes increasingly dependent on individual performance rather than guided targets)

 

I think you need to bifurcate NYC from SF / LA. The pay between those two are not the same no matter what NYC is always higher. 

I agree that there are probably jobs that pay $300k - $400k as an associate but rare especially in LA. I’d say the market there is $150k - $300k wide range but a function of company but also responsibility. RE job titles aren’t as simple or transferable company to company like IB or PE. So labeling all associates the same might be tough as you have varies YOE and responsibilities which relate to the ultimate cash comp.

I’d be curious how many of those mega fund associates actually make it to the next level up or have to leave to find another job. Because at the end of the day we are all in this business to make it to promote or a seat at the table. Sure high cash comp is good but if you aren’t getting promote at the end of the day I would find it hard to stay in this business long term. 

 

Adding to the chorus of naysayers here, it's also worth remembering that there's a big difference between an associate making a freak $400k in 2021-2022 because deals were selling at 3 caps and that being typical, expected comp. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer
 

OP, seems like you are at a MF. I would check the PE forum for Aso pay in 2023 - many firms tend to pay juniors the same across strategies. I'd say you are generally in line with market. Take into account that the west coast has a discount to nyc (should be small, also lower COL though). If you are a Snr. Aso, maybe you're starting to get underpaid. To get real data points, it's honestly best to just reach out to HHs for a chat and ask what market pay is for similar players in your market nowadays.

 

Mate read a f*kin comp report on MF PE pay please. OP is not ungrateful, just wants to be paid fairly relative to competitors and market standards.

 

I think it would be helpful to provide more context. So what is your day to day role / how is your team set up? What do you think market is? I personally think this year it is all about to be about individual performance in that companies will increase comp to individual people who deserve it for being high performers versus in previous years they had no choice. If you think it is market and are outperforming I think any company would be foolish not to increase your comp because that marginal increase from their standpoint for the extra $50k - $100k means nothing to their bottom line for a high performer. But again it is all relative to how they view you and where the market is. Paying $350k - $400k for an associate would be on the higher end but if that associate is likely heading to a director / VP level it’s worth it. It is extremely hard to find good people while I think it is easier / there are lots of people who want to be an analyst / associate.

 

Analysts are completely fungible. Our work is commoditized. AS/VPs is when people start to differentiate themselves.

 

Nah that sounds high, assuming you are actually going to be getting any type of participation in the fund I'd expect the average range to be $150k-250k all-in (depending on the market). You should be showing up with a rolodex of operators to JV with and the ability to take simultaneous deals from acquisition to closing solo to be pulling in that kind of dough.

Especially while switching to a new firm as an unproven commodity, too many other very well qualified candidates in competition would settle for less unfortunately.

No fund participation at first or in the near future, then I can see the add-on of $75-150k.

 

Depends entirely on role. Likely high for the most part. That said, Related has an opening for their Debt Fund which shows $160K-$185K base so all in possibly in that range. Debt Fund roles seem to always pay well it seems. Owner/Operators typically the crappiest pay like the SLG, Vornado, RXRs of the city. RXR has an Associate in their Investments group posted at a base of $100K-$125K which is a complete joke. I know their bonuses are rather low as well. 

 
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I’ll answer simply. Associates at APO, KKR, BX, and STWD can def touch 375K-400K. Maybe not really first-year associates but def a third-year associate and probably second-year if you and fund perform well.

On another note, I really hate that, outside of MFs, RE PE pay lags a good deal behind corporate PE. Corporate PE associates start around 250K all-in. They’re hiring talent from IB so pay has to be competitive in order to attract that audience. All pockets of RE have benefitted from the access to institutional capital over the past 10-15 years but yet most RE shops don’t pay as well as their counterparts in corporate PE. I partly attribute this to the fact that many RE shops hire talent from commercial banks (which don’t pay as well as IB) or hire people whose backgrounds/experience don’t allow for them to command market pay. However, RE shops (ex: Carlyle) who recruit from IB usually pay market. Either way, I hope that RE candidates start closing the pay gap by demanding market pay when compared to corporate PE but I’m not that hopeful considering that too many candidates are willing to take subpar pay just to get experience. That shit doesn’t fly in other areas of PE.

 

I'm so with you on wanting for higher comp, but to play devil's advocate, having come from IB, RE is a lot easier in terms of hours, the complexity/rigor of analysis, the amount of work required per each deal you're working on, etc. 

In IB they're paying Associate 1s $300K-$400K / year and still can't get bodies in the door that can adequately handle the day to day for longer than a year without  burning out or going into fuck it mode. There are a ton more people willing and able to do the average RE acquisitions gig without torturing themselves and necessitating an eye-popping comp amount versus corporate finance roles (PE or IB). A lot of Corp Fin PE jobs with better hours and less active deal flow pay more similar to REPE jobs as well. And then for the REPE jobs at firms like Cerberus / Apollo, where you're working at a Corporate Finance pace and doing more wide-ranging & complex transactions in higher volumes, you do get compensated in line with what corp finance pays. I can't speak to the bonus pools directly because I'm not at a Mega Fund but I have heard people say that the bonuses are a little less because the fund/asset level returns are a little less but I'm not sure I buy that as most of these places are bringing in a christ load of fees from their real asset division. 

Personally, I'll probably barely clear $200K this year, but for my hours that's a steal for me. I went from 70/week to 50 on average and much happier. It's hard to comp to IB pay because it truly is an absolutely brutal, grinding, testing job every week. 

 

Only thing I’d add is I’d say IB has recruiting issues more so due to the fact that the hours long and the work isn’t stimulating/interesting. Analysts know that they are at the bank just to get training and will prob leave to PE after 2-3 years.

Corporate PE gets involved in complex transactions, still works long hours, and generally pays less than IB but they have no issue at all recruiting talent. It’s notoriously very competitive.

 

You are not getting to $375K cash at a Bx, Starwood, Brookfield as an associate (from personal experience). The most sought after candidates will get starting packages close to it, and you’ll definitely get near that a few years if you can stick around. A good friend of mine was an associate on the most profitable real estate segment at one of these firms, and he made $350K in 2022.

 

what's VP all in comp with bonus? also what's DAW generally, I'd assume like 2.5 mil given their fund size?

 

At an upper middle market REPE firm in NY. Just got told my bonus this week for the year as an out of college analyst. Made an annualized $160k all in. Annualized because I’ve only been working since June out of college (7 months).

 

Last interview I had with a >$10B REPE firm in a Tier 1 market they were talking $140 - $160K with a targeted 75% bonus, for an experienced Associate. So call it $245K - $280K all in for a PERE Top 50 firm in a Tier 1 market.

This is an actual data point and I think it's broadly reflective of where market is for most of the top half of PERE 100 firms, give or take a few outliers.   

 

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