Buy-Side Comp Canada

Hi guys,

Hoping to discuss buy-side comp in Canada, would be curious to hear everyone's opinions/personal experience.

I spent a few years in retail banking prior to starting as a first year analyst at a boutique firm. My base was 75k + bonus with no set % target.

Since, I have shifted (was laid off, packaged out) to one of Canada's bigger money managers (think large, publicly traded money managers, big 5 bank money managers). My base is now 65k with a target bonus of 10%, I feel this is quite low and wanted to hear what others think. Full disclosure- I do not have my full CFA and have less than 1 year of formal buy-side research experience.


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Comments (38)

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Nov 7, 2020 - 8:59pm


Base is in-line but bonus is definitely low. I've never seen firms with that kind of scale pay bonus that low tbh (someone please confirm this as well).

I'm at a small firm in Montreal (

What is your comp like in MTL?

Dec 30, 2018 - 9:32pm

Comments in this thread are accurate. Comp in Canada is generally much lower than the US. Most quality candidates tend to migrate down to the US for this reason as well.

Jan 8, 2019 - 3:26pm

I'm looking at ~$90k all in comp this year, still feels very low to me (I have full CFA) but then again grass is always greener. I'm in my second year at a large firm, with ~1 year a small shop prior and 2 years in retail wealth management prior to that.
A part of me regrets not starting on sell side- I've heard ~$130k all in comp for 1st years with no CFA!

Jan 9, 2019 - 9:19pm

Confirmed data point of my buddy: started on the sell side with $75k+28k. Now into the 3rd year he just made $90k+55k. The bonus was floating and last year was a good year for his bank/team.
He was a chartered CFA+2 yr buy-side experience+some random finance coop exp to start with.
I doubt $130k all in 1st year with no CFA is normal though.

Jan 8, 2019 - 4:18pm

Are we talking all buy side? If so, it really depends on what you are doing.

I have seen direct lending 1st years out of Uni make 100k+ (Stream in Calgary for example).

If you consider pensions buy side, then their pay can exceed 100k as well (CPPIB in Toronto for example).

HF and PE comp is >100k as well (there are countless examples here).

I mean, of course buy side ER for a boutique, never mind with only retail experience, is going to be terrible pay.

Definitely not as good as down south, but not as bad as you all are painting it. Additionally, unless you are at Onex, Canadian hours are known to be considerably better.

There is more than one way to get there. I'd rather have 30 chapters than 3000 pages.

Jan 14, 2019 - 6:51pm

Agreed! Outside of some roles at AIMCo..... but that's back to the CoL argument. Get paid less to live in a shittier city. Lose-lose IMO.

There is more than one way to get there. I'd rather have 30 chapters than 3000 pages.

Jan 12, 2019 - 7:24pm

From what I have heard, the hours in Canada buy-side ER are about 50/week, which is probably a bit less than in the US although I could be wrong.

I also know of quite a few people in PE at the pensions/small shops and yes they get paid more in general. Hours are also quite a bit longer (55-65+) and usually these jobs are in higher CoL cities.

Jan 12, 2019 - 8:13pm

50 hours a week is nothing. That's coming in an hour earlier, leaving an hour later, and having your weekends completely free. That's essentially what a secretary works. Heck, construction workers work worse hours.

Pensions are known for having considerably better hours than say.... an MM PE fund down south. So to make less while you are there makes sense. Even then, the pay at pensions is nothing to laugh at.

As to being in high CoL cities, I understand and agree. But of course that's the case, there is never going to be a movement from buy-side firms to relocate to cities like Edmonton. Good luck attracting talent to come to any of those cities. In fact, that argument is counter-intuitive. Most finance folk that I know would have to be paid a LARGE amount more than they are currently receiving to have to move to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax, or any other low CoL city.

Canadian buy-side (outside of a few shops in Toronto) is not going to pay the same as NYC, but that's accompanied with working considerably fewer hours.

There is more than one way to get there. I'd rather have 30 chapters than 3000 pages.

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Jan 14, 2019 - 3:31pm

Hard not to laugh at the MS. Sorry you can't work a 9-5 and make 250k+ when you are only 3 years out of uni and half of it is retail banking exp.

There is more than one way to get there. I'd rather have 30 chapters than 3000 pages.

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