How much can you really earn in BO and MO

I don't work in BO/ MO... interested to know, how much can you really earn?

Seems like a few posters have talked about how mind dumbing the job is. Others have said that you get a lot of time off and flexibility (is this true).

Interested to know, What BO/MO etc opportunities are the best for salary and hours?

Thought we could try have a positive and educational conversation.

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (32)

May 28, 2014 - 11:34am

Something to note is that unlike analyst/associate junior positions, at the highest levels of any role, compensation isn't going to be so easy to read across every position. There are also far fewer data points. Personally, I know a pretty senior MD-ish guy in a middle office risk management role at a BB (think CS, UBS, Barcap) who I would estimate is around $1MM/yr, but it's totally anecdotal to look at a data point like that.

While I'm sure @"SSits" wouldn't want to share his own comp for obvious reasons, if I recall, he's pretty high up the food chain in a middle office role like compliance or risk, and he may have more general, overarching insights. (sorry for the mention if I recalled your background incorrectly).

May 28, 2014 - 12:20pm

On an anecdotal basis, I do credit research within the risk management function of a BB. Wouldn't call this mind-numbing work as we do fairly in-depth financial/business analysis type work, but not much client-facing stuff aside from the occasional due diligence and we aren't a revenue generating segment.

Base salary for new joiners is roughly what IB analysts get, but not sure on the bonus (haven't been here long enough, and people here don't share their comp). Comp overall varies significantly office by office as well, and senior guys don't really share their comp details but they seem to do ok. Hours aren't too bad (average is 50 hrs per week), but if we have a live deal going on then this can reach 80 or so.

Exit opps are decent, with the company sponsoring professional qualifications like the CFA and people leaving to AM firms like BlackRock after 2-4yrs, as well as some guys going to small PE firms, or the occasional person lateraling into IBD or GCM. Not sure if this is the "best" area in BO/MO, but I think it's definitely up there. I have no complaints anyway.

May 28, 2014 - 12:31pm

@MLE4444 - I haven't been in MO long enough to work out whether my comp is market for my sort of MO role or is more a legacy of my old FO role. Bonus as % of my base salary is about the same in the most recent bonus cycle, but I did relocate from a region with pretty low P&L performance to one that has much fatter profits per head.

Based on what I've been told about typical Wall Street bank's MO by ex-GS/Lehmann/Deutsche people I work with, the MO office role I'm in is a lot more interactive with FO and deal structuring, so my MO team may be getting paid more at my shop because we're adding more value shaping/guiding/occasionally killing deals on a commercial basis ie looking at the business risk, deal structure risk and overall risk/reward merits of the deal. We do late nights and weekends, although fortunately not as much as the FO guys. In contrast, I've been told that typically MO are just processing compliance and other aspects of business that FO has done eg , a MO compliance team who are just looking at regulatory and reputation risk (which we also have here).

tldr version of last paragraph - I don't know how comparable my role is to the typical BB MO role.

I'd be surprised if the typical compliance or finance team member got paid anywhere near what we get, given they are much further away from impacting profit generation in a meaningful way.

As I'm also ex-FO, I think there is a perception in MO that I'm higher value, so that may also impact how much comp they think they have to give me.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
  • 3
Best Response
May 28, 2014 - 1:14pm

I do PMO work in NYC in operations, not sure if that's considered BO and MO (when I think of back office, I think of trade processors up in buffalo, who make less).

For some exact figures: I'm an slightly above average worker who has changed firms once. At 26.5 (4.5 years experience), my total compensation was $100k. At 25 (3.5 years experience), my total comp was only $74.5k though (I switched firms + promotion which got me up to $85k base, year-end I got $10k bonus and another $5k raise).

I'd say my current comp is slightly above average for my age range for NYC ops. If you stay at the same firm, you're probably looking at ~$85k total comp. Also, better banks give much better raises and bonuses (I went from Citi to JPM and it was like night and day).

Most strong workers (but non-super star) who work in NYC can expect to make VP at around 30 (some people never make it, I know one superstar who got it at 25). Comp here will be around $120k, more if you have management responsibilities/have hopped firms. Bonus will be 10-30% generally. Ancedotally, after being a VP for a while and getting a few analysts and associates under you, you're base will get to around $180k or so. Not sure what Directors and above make, but I think there's significant salary acceleration at this point based on the life styles the people live. It is quite hard to make the jump from VP to Director though. Hard working people with moderate intelligence make VP right and left, but you need to be somewhat special to make Director. I'd be interested in knowing director salary data if anyone is aware.

Hours are great, I work 9-5 with long lunches and no weekend work. I used to work longer (~630pm or logging in 9pm for a call with asia a few times a week) or come at 8am, but we don't have to deal with Asia or daily reports anymore, which brought things down (plus I'm going to business school so I'm phoning things in at this point)

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
May 29, 2014 - 2:13am

OpsDude:

I do PMO work in NYC in operations, not sure if that's considered BO and MO (when I think of back office, I think of trade processors up in buffalo, who make less).

For some exact figures: I'm an slightly above average worker who has changed firms once. At 26.5 (4.5 years experience), my total compensation was $100k. At 25 (3.5 years experience), my total comp was only $74.5k though (I switched firms + promotion which got me up to $85k base, year-end I got $10k bonus and another $5k raise).

I'd say my current comp is slightly above average for my age range for NYC ops. If you stay at the same firm, you're probably looking at ~$85k total comp. Also, better banks give much better raises and bonuses (I went from Citi to JPM and it was like night and day).

Most strong workers (but non-super star) who work in NYC can expect to make VP at around 30 (some people never make it, I know one superstar who got it at 25). Comp here will be around $120k, more if you have management responsibilities/have hopped firms. Bonus will be 10-30% generally. Ancedotally, after being a VP for a while and getting a few analysts and associates under you, you're base will get to around $180k or so. Not sure what Directors and above make, but I think there's significant salary acceleration at this point based on the life styles the people live. It is quite hard to make the jump from VP to Director though. Hard working people with moderate intelligence make VP right and left, but you need to be somewhat special to make Director. I'd be interested in knowing director salary data if anyone is aware.

Hours are great, I work 9-5 with long lunches and no weekend work. I used to work longer (~630pm or logging in 9pm for a call with asia a few times a week) or come at 8am, but we don't have to deal with Asia or daily reports anymore, which brought things down (plus I'm going to business school so I'm phoning things in at this point)

Thanks for this,

Excuse my ignorance but what is PMO work? I'm also assuming your a VP now? or slightly under this level?

With all this said, good work hours and amazing pay why do so many people dis the back office?

I still dont get the difference between MO and BO... but by the sounds of it, MO gets paid more??

May 29, 2014 - 5:02am

BO is shit on unnecessarily on this forum. I have little idea what they actually do, but any job that starts at 70k + bonus when your 22 years old, a job where you might be earning 200k by the time your 30, and possibly 300-400k or more by age 40 (if you're good), is a brilliant job by any metric.

What would rather be, a stressed out front office MD for Citi in NYC who's earns more than Paris Hilton could spend but is so worn down he struggles to get his dick up, or a GS back office MD taking down 400k+ in Salt Lake City, who's never worked more than 50 hours in a week, has vacationed with his girlfriend (now wife) in Europe every August for the last 15 years, and spends every other of his weekends skiing or fishing?

Sometimes you've got to have balls.

Disclaimer: I turned down a full time front office investment banking offer at GS/MS, and instead accepted a MO role at a top bank.

May 29, 2014 - 6:49am

I can help out here as I work in the MO (although I hate this term; it really is all BO) of one of GS/MS. So, first off I believe that hours are contingent on group. Everyone from my team leaves by ~6 whereas some other teams regularly stay until 8 or 9. Many of the people take their jobs quite seriously and almost like a FO role, operating with a lot of background stress. One of the rather funny upsides of the job is that you will feel like a genius, as much of the work is done using ridiculously outdated semi-manual processes in Excel/Access, etc, and is quite simple to automate using macros, VBS script and the like. Pay for VP-level employees is in the low six-figures, rarely cracking 200k by my reckoning. I think that EDs are ~200k or perhaps more towards 300k at the high level, and pay for moderately high-rankings MDs probably falls in the mid-300k range. Bonuses are practically nonexistent for all intents and purposes but so is stress on my end. If I may opine, I'd rather have the stress at this stage in my career (and so I am planning on Bschool), but it would be a very nice sort of role for someone who has burned out in the FO.

May 29, 2014 - 9:30am

I currently work in foreign exchange ops in NYC for a large bank. Been there for a little over two years. In regards to comp I started at 60 and recently got bumped up to 65 and now get comp for OT so all-in is around 75k annually. Also eligible for bonuses however due to the OT this no more than 5%. Hours aren't bad though, 45-50 hours typically.

In regards to stock limitations, we have to use a specific set of brokers and need to hold on to stock/options for a minimum of 30 days. There are some exceptions such as etfs and reits. Pretty sure this is standard market practice though

May 29, 2014 - 9:50am

All MO roles aren't created equal. I started off in a somewhat selective (at least at that time) MO role after college, and I'm sure the MDs were making at least $1mn. VPs/Directors were making a couple hundred k, and analysts were making similar to ER/Capital Mkts type roles overall. Compensation might have changed since then though.

May 29, 2014 - 9:48am

@unclepanda: I'm associate/assistant vice president, I've had 2 promotions since Citi made a bullshit title between analyst and assistant vice president called "officer". PMO is project management work. I've worked on metrics, global strategy, offshoring, onshoring, changing target operating models, onboarding new businesses, operational efficiency, dashboards, etc...job responsibility wise: I do scoping, create the business requirements documents, process flows, project plans, data analysis, tactical reports, master specs, status updates, talk to the various stake holders (front office, operations line people, technology, compliance, etc) globally, make test scripts, create new reports and risk rating models, manage consultants/temps who run reports I've created, etc

I think the above was why I was able to get into a top school - I was able to talk about a lot of responsibility and leadership. I was also offered some interviews at tier-3 consulting firms (e.g. Kurt Salmon) for high salary, which I denied. If you're just reconciling trades for 4-5 years, things become harder,

MO and BO are a bit archiac. It used to be MO would confirm the trades, and BO would reconcile and execute. Then the term MO started being used for Risk. Then the reconciling and execution stuff was either automated or outsourced, so most people in ops weren't doing that anymore. The terms don't mean much anymore, and everyone has different definition.Only important difference is FO and the rest.

The whole firm is under the same stock rules: No options, certain stocks are restricted (you ask for permission to trade a stock, and they'll either confirm or deny, you don't get a reason why), 30 day holding period. Some people have more severe rules, and the rules vary by firm (when I interned at BlackRock it was 2 months holding period, but you could trade options...if you held them 2 months).

@fixedfaileddelivered: Back office was MUCH less professionalized in the 90's and beforehand...used to be a brainless job that didn't require college. This has changed drastically in the past decade or so, especially post-financial crisis. Most of my younger colleagues are from schools like Cornell.. That said, I don't think BO generally gets to $200k by 30 (very rare), but the MD's tend to make more than $400k. Most people reach MD mid-40's. I've heard around $ 1million all in, but not confirmed. It is hard to make MD though, so be prepared to impress people and office politics successfully for a decade+.

@BmoreNerd Definitely agree here. I think part of the reason my hours are so great, is that I automated a lot of manual thing, making it 10x faster. I can accomplish twice as much as previous people in half the time. Also, ya its pretty hilarious hearing people get stressed and complain about their hours when they are working under 50 hours a weeks. Some people have no perspective or stress management skills, but, it makes things easier for you.

One thing I should tell people is - comp is pretty much set at a very high level. Don't get in a group that works long hours, as you won't ever be compensated for it. I work an hour or two less per day in my current job, and get better reviews and much higher pay than my previous job.

I think you're undershooting the salary at VP level though, I know an associate who is at $120k (at Citi! which under pays). If you can perform and are more the cannon fodder, it can be pretty lucrative.

@Corpfinhopeful: Depends on the bank and bucket. the buckets go:

1: top 10%
2: Top 30%
3%: Everyone who doesn't suck (top 70-90%)
4: You're about to get fired unless you start doing better.
5: You're getting fired.

Citi gave me a 2% bonus when I was rated a 2. JPM gave me a 12% bonus...and I hadn't even been there for the full year.

May 29, 2014 - 10:23am

Epic post. This is the most succinct definition of MO/BO that I've ever seen.

OpsDude:

@UnclePanda: I'm associate/assistant vice president, I've had 2 promotions since Citi made a bullshit title between analyst and assistant vice president called "officer". PMO is project management work. I've worked on metrics, global strategy, offshoring, onshoring, changing target operating models, onboarding new businesses, operational efficiency, dashboards, etc...job responsibility wise: I do scoping, create the business requirements documents, process flows, project plans, data analysis, tactical reports, master specs, status updates, talk to the various stake holders (front office, operations line people, technology, compliance, etc) globally, make test scripts, create new reports and risk rating models, manage consultants/temps who run reports I've created, etc

I think the above was why I was able to get into a top school - I was able to talk about a lot of responsibility and leadership. I was also offered some interviews at tier-3 consulting firms (e.g. Kurt Salmon) for high salary, which I denied. If you're just reconciling trades for 4-5 years, things become harder,

MO and BO are a bit archiac. It used to be MO would confirm the trades, and BO would reconcile and execute. Then the term MO started being used for Risk. Then the reconciling and execution stuff was either automated or outsourced, so most people in ops weren't doing that anymore. The terms don't mean much anymore, and everyone has different definition.Only important difference is FO and the rest.

The whole firm is under the same stock rules: No options, certain stocks are restricted (you ask for permission to trade a stock, and they'll either confirm or deny, you don't get a reason why), 30 day holding period. Some people have more severe rules, and the rules vary by firm (when I interned at BlackRock it was 2 months holding period, but you could trade options...if you held them 2 months).

@fixedfaileddelivered: Back office was MUCH less professionalized in the 90's and beforehand...used to be a brainless job that didn't require college. This has changed drastically in the past decade or so, especially post-financial crisis. Most of my younger colleagues are from schools like Cornell.. That said, I don't think BO generally gets to $200k by 30 (very rare), but the MD's tend to make more than $400k. Most people reach MD mid-40's. I've heard around $ 1million all in, but not confirmed. It is hard to make MD though, so be prepared to impress people and office politics successfully for a decade+.

@BmoreNerd Definitely agree here. I think part of the reason my hours are so great, is that I automated a lot of manual thing, making it 10x faster. I can accomplish twice as much as previous people in half the time. Also, ya its pretty hilarious hearing people get stressed and complain about their hours when they are working under 50 hours a weeks. Some people have no perspective or stress management skills, but, it makes things easier for you.

One thing I should tell people is - comp is pretty much set at a very high level. Don't get in a group that works long hours, as you won't ever be compensated for it. I work an hour or two less per day in my current job, and get better reviews and much higher pay than my previous job.

I think you're undershooting the salary at VP level though, I know an associate who is at $120k (at Citi! which under pays). If you can perform and are more the cannon fodder, it can be pretty lucrative.

@CorpFinHopeful: Depends on the bank and bucket. the buckets go:

1: top 10%

2: Top 30%

3%: Everyone who doesn't suck (top 70-90%)

4: You're about to get fired unless you start doing better.

5: You're getting fired.

Citi gave me a 2% bonus when I was rated a 2. JPM gave me a 12% bonus...and I hadn't even been there for the full year.

May 29, 2014 - 10:32am

BmoreNerd:

Epic post. This is the most succinct and elucidating definition of MO/BO that I've ever seen.

OpsDude:

@UnclePanda: I'm associate/assistant vice president, I've had 2 promotions since Citi made a bullshit title between analyst and assistant vice president called "officer". PMO is project management work. I've worked on metrics, global strategy, offshoring, onshoring, changing target operating models, onboarding new businesses, operational efficiency, dashboards, etc...job responsibility wise: I do scoping, create the business requirements documents, process flows, project plans, data analysis, tactical reports, master specs, status updates, talk to the various stake holders (front office, operations line people, technology, compliance, etc) globally, make test scripts, create new reports and risk rating models, manage consultants/temps who run reports I've created, etc

I think the above was why I was able to get into a top school - I was able to talk about a lot of responsibility and leadership. I was also offered some interviews at tier-3 consulting firms (e.g. Kurt Salmon) for high salary, which I denied. If you're just reconciling trades for 4-5 years, things become harder,

MO and BO are a bit archiac. It used to be MO would confirm the trades, and BO would reconcile and execute. Then the term MO started being used for Risk. Then the reconciling and execution stuff was either automated or outsourced, so most people in ops weren't doing that anymore. The terms don't mean much anymore, and everyone has different definition.Only important difference is FO and the rest.

The whole firm is under the same stock rules: No options, certain stocks are restricted (you ask for permission to trade a stock, and they'll either confirm or deny, you don't get a reason why), 30 day holding period. Some people have more severe rules, and the rules vary by firm (when I interned at BlackRock it was 2 months holding period, but you could trade options...if you held them 2 months).

@fixedfaileddelivered: Back office was MUCH less professionalized in the 90's and beforehand...used to be a brainless job that didn't require college. This has changed drastically in the past decade or so, especially post-financial crisis. Most of my younger colleagues are from schools like Cornell.. That said, I don't think BO generally gets to $200k by 30 (very rare), but the MD's tend to make more than $400k. Most people reach MD mid-40's. I've heard around $ 1million all in, but not confirmed. It is hard to make MD though, so be prepared to impress people and office politics successfully for a decade+.

@BmoreNerd Definitely agree here. I think part of the reason my hours are so great, is that I automated a lot of manual thing, making it 10x faster. I can accomplish twice as much as previous people in half the time. Also, ya its pretty hilarious hearing people get stressed and complain about their hours when they are working under 50 hours a weeks. Some people have no perspective or stress management skills, but, it makes things easier for you.

One thing I should tell people is - comp is pretty much set at a very high level. Don't get in a group that works long hours, as you won't ever be compensated for it. I work an hour or two less per day in my current job, and get better reviews and much higher pay than my previous job.

I think you're undershooting the salary at VP level though, I know an associate who is at $120k (at Citi! which under pays). If you can perform and are more the cannon fodder, it can be pretty lucrative.

@CorpFinHopeful: Depends on the bank and bucket. the buckets go:

1: top 10%

2: Top 30%

3%: Everyone who doesn't suck (top 70-90%)

4: You're about to get fired unless you start doing better.

5: You're getting fired.

Citi gave me a 2% bonus when I was rated a 2. JPM gave me a 12% bonus...and I hadn't even been there for the full year.

May 29, 2014 - 11:03am

bananawarfare:

can we expand this a bit and have some salaries for MO/BO at PE and HF? I met an MO MD at a >50b PE shop he seems to be doing pretty well, just wondering how much they make.

I can't speak to pay, but I do want to bring up the difference between IB and PE/HF back office experienced recruiting:

In general, for IB, they are looking to find the person with the most relevant experience. They'd rather hire a less brilliant person who has more direct experience doing whatever the job is.

For PE/HF, they generally look for brilliant people who they then train, rather than who has the longest experience. For example, PE/HF will look at SAT/GPA/predigree of undergrad school, even after 4-5 years as an experienced hire.

Although, as with most things, if you are friendly with a senior person, you can get in without intelligence or relevant experience.

May 29, 2014 - 11:34am

I intern at a BB in fixed-income BO. Everyone here is on very good money (even entry-level/grad scheme) and the hours are good, and most importantly, predictable.

However, it is stagnant. There is very little upward movement, or sideways for that matter.

May 29, 2014 - 2:58pm

Also, I don't think MO is a less-stressful job. Actually in the company, you are the person who get yelled most for others mistake. For example, a trader makes a mistake and you don't find out, it's your fault. Or you ask a Prime Broker to do something and he/she confirms in the email but next day, it turns out that he/she fails to do so and it's your fault again.

May 29, 2014 - 5:05pm

From a regional office for BO work I didn't make jack. Under 50k all in. I got promoted back to back to manager with a team but because we were a regional office no one really gave 2 shits about us. Got a raise once, and then barely any bonus because "hard times" for 5 years somehow? Part of the reason i quit was because they just kept saying how they will pay good employees and then never did.

Someone in our group got promoted to VP and i don't think broke 100k. Now, if you were working there before 2007 you were likely making a lot; I'd wager people on my team who worked there for a few years before i even started were making 15k more than me when i quit.

Of course this is also dependent on business units, because some other groups in our office got decent bonuses and raises.

A bunch of people quit and joined other banks for much better salary, leveraging the experience gained in our office for more comp. It was pretty well known comp was low even for our city but again, its BO work in a regional office so no one cared.

May 31, 2014 - 12:12pm

Compliance is a good place to be right now. Middle office, 50-60 hours, well paid, safest from layoffs, many open positions. Like any position though, it depends on the specific role. Desk coverage compliance roles pay the highest with everything else lagging behind. You can expect a drastic pay cut and decrease in other opportunities if you are in a compliance role for a wealth management or retail arm.

Estimates for salary based off actual data points:

1st year ~ $65-80k (expect $10-15k lower for retail/WM comp. roles)
2nd year ~$75-85k
3rd year ~$85-110k
4th year ~$100k-130k

These numbers will be $10-15k higher if promoted for that year since this is typically when the major salary increases will occur. Bonuses tend to be 8-20% depending on role, level, company among other factors. Of course, these numbers can be higher or lower based on the factors already mentioned but this offers a general guideline.

HF/PE compliance roles tend to pay within the same range with some offering larger bonuses but lesser salaries.

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."
  • 4
May 31, 2014 - 2:01pm

Came from a MO role at a mid-tier investment bank, working in a trading role at a hedge fund now. MO/BO careers are very stable and you can earn a decent living if you work hard and advance. With that said I worked with guys in their late 30's who were on the same level as me. It's a very routine and easy job once you get the hang of it, but if working 40-45 hours a week and being able to relax at work is important to you, BO/MO beats out FO every time. Just depends what your priorities are. Sure I get paid more now, but I have to work significantly more including weekends.

Jun 1, 2014 - 4:50pm

Delectus dolor sit quos velit voluptas in. Corporis consequuntur quia corporis culpa molestiae. Voluptates eos quasi commodi cupiditate veritatis. Cum odio tempore et incidunt quas. Eligendi et repellat quaerat nam fugit commodi facere. Neque recusandae ea quo ut. Nesciunt ut sint ut sed et est.

Jun 11, 2014 - 9:13pm

Est in ut ut soluta quo fuga odit. Qui voluptatibus qui sapiente aperiam deleniti iure pariatur. Laborum aliquam assumenda incidunt officiis voluptatum et. Blanditiis tempora aspernatur debitis doloremque hic ea voluptatum a. Illo voluptas dignissimos totam eum necessitatibus reiciendis.

At laborum natus libero temporibus. Eaque voluptatem officia quo et rerum et similique commodi.

Omnis officiis aliquam cupiditate est. Voluptatum consequuntur quibusdam esse rem nobis sint dolor.

Soluta alias sed labore molestias qui iure sed. Labore est magnam voluptate aliquid rerum qui ex. Quos aut sunt ea nobis provident ipsam veritatis. Necessitatibus aliquid delectus earum qui suscipit modi. Minima laborum error temporibus maxime sit facere qui natus.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

September 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (39) $363
  • Associates (220) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (134) $154
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (30) $147
  • Intern/Summer Associate (103) $143
  • 1st Year Analyst (485) $135
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (377) $82