The Back Office of a BB

BackOfficeLove's picture
Rank: Monkey | 47

I realize on WSO that most of the readers have a hard on for IB/PE/VC/etc, but just out of curiosity, does anyone know the career progression of the back office at a BB?

So for roles such as finance, accounting, compliance, risk mgmt, etc. To my understanding, salary is the same as FO at the lower levels, but just a very small year end bonus instead of the IB ones?

How many years would it take to move up the ranks in the back office? And how much comp can one expect at each of the levels?

From analyst -> associate -> mgr (VP) -> director?

Doesn't seem like a bad gig to be a VP of finance at a BB to me. If anyone has any info they can share, i'd appreciate it.

Comments (64)

Aug 5, 2013

I'm interested in this as well

Aug 6, 2013

Are you asking about back office or middle office? Your examples are middle office but you keep saying back office.

Risk management, treasury, compliance have the same salary (70k) as front office but with much lower bonuses and are considered middle office roles.

Back office (tech, ops, etc.) typically starts around 55k.

Title progression depends on the group, some groups do not have associates but rather assistant vice presidents. But typically it would go Analyst --> Associate/AVP --> VP --> ED --> MD --> Group Head MD etc.

I don't want to comment on compensation too much at the senior level and give false information but I know AVPs are around 90k-100k and VPs can be around 130k-160k excluding any bonuses. ED is around 170-210k and MD is around 250k.

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Aug 9, 2013

I believe that tech makes more than 55k out of undergrad. A couple of friends went tech in various BB's and are averaging ~ 70K.

Aug 9, 2013

There are no tech analysts that make $70k base. They are either lying, in order to impress you, or they are including their $10k sign-on bonus plus another random $5k. The average across the bulge bracket banks is $52k.

Do you know what average means? Your statement means some tech people are making over $70k, so you are telling me back office tech is making a similar all-in comp to the top consultants?

Aug 9, 2013

My family works in BB information technology and there are plenty of entry level DBAs that make 70K on entry.

Keeping the databases up that reconcile all these trades (production support, software architecture, development) definitely gets paid at least as much starting wise as treasury or compliance.

Aug 9, 2013

These are not analysts though. There are always specialist positions that pay more/less than the typical analyst roles.

There are programmers at BBs that get paid a ton too but they are not the typical back office analyst positions. The only positions I was referring too (and assuming other people were referring too) are the roles that get recruited every year as a class like 'Operations Analyst'. DBA is a position that is hired for when there is a need.

Aug 6, 2013
yeahright:

Are you asking about back office or middle office? Your examples are middle office but you keep saying back office.

Risk management, treasury, compliance have the same salary (70k) as front office but with much lower bonuses and are considered middle office roles.

Back office (tech, ops, etc.) typically starts around 55k.

Title progression depends on the group, some groups do not have associates but rather assistant vice presidents. But typically it would go Analyst --> Associate/AVP --> VP --> ED --> MD --> Group Head MD etc.

I don't want to comment on compensation too much at the senior level and give false information but I know AVPs are around 90k-100k and VPs can be around 130k-160k excluding any bonuses. ED is around 170-210k and MD is around 250k.

This is pretty spot on. And the entire point of IB is have the opportunity to make a tremendous amount through your bonus, which is why the base salary is not very significant, and shouldn't be a point of reference for comparison between MO and FO job compensation.

I can't say exactly on years/progression, as it is also performance/initiative based, but the salary from the quoted poster is pretty spot on for BO.

Lastly, there is also intrinsic value in FO jobs vs BO, I'm sure a quick search would highlight the many reasons why, but besides the vast difference in monetary compensation, there is undoubtedly intangible differences.

Hope it helps~

Aug 8, 2013

MO roles are still highly respected. You will still be a "banker", you will still make a good amount of money, you will still carry a similar level of "prestige". It gets shit on a lot here but it isn't a bad gig at all

Aug 9, 2013

I work in BO at BB Inv Bank, my second one in 7 years. I know a jump from BO to FO is impossible, but where I am moving up the line to even MO to get some more experience in that is quite bureaucratic and then you start to get type cast. I have the hunger and the personality to move up the line, I'd love to get to a more client facing role, at least a role more involved in the revenue side of the biz, but it ain't easy

Aug 9, 2013

The new BO guys I know at BBs in NYC make 70 base, outside of NYC it's WAY less though

Aug 9, 2013

Not too sure why you got shit thrown at you. That was the salary range I was under the impression new hires are getting.

@yeahright is correct about the promotion timings. Heavily dependent on group and person though.

@OP My risk group creates risk reports that are sold. According to your definition, is it MO or BO?

Aug 9, 2013

Shit happens...

baDUM pshhh

Aug 9, 2013

Yeah heavily dependant.

And yeah grouping MO and BO is not correct in this era of financial services. BO are true support functions. Things like risk, treasury, compliance are not support functions. I don't really care how the OP groups it though, not offended in any way.

Aug 9, 2013

Well "risk group" is a super broad term that can encompass anything from compliance to credit risk, so I can't really comment on your situation. However, if your job pays you to create and sell something like counterparty credit risk reports, I'd consider that FO.

But I didn't start this post to create an argument between whats BO, MO, or FO... theres a ton of threads like that already. Just trying to get an understanding of BO progression

Aug 9, 2013

Anyone have any info on the typical progression of BO promotions? I think that would be pretty useful... like X years from analyst -> associate -> VP, etc.

As a note, for me I lump BO and MO together. Please dont be offended, to me any non-revenue generating role is BO, any revenue generating one is FO. Pretty black and white, of course others can have their opinions.

Aug 9, 2013

Just asked my MD this yesterday and it's pretty dependant on group. She said that each group gets a X number of promotions a year and certain ones need to be used at certain levels. Apparently, HR actually has a lot of say in regards to getting promoted.

However, typically 2-3 years for analyst, 3-5 for associate/AVP, 8-10 for VP. Some people never make it past the VP level and just get title bumped to a SVP though and never make Director after 10 years. Same goes for Directors, only about 9% ever make it to MD.

Aug 9, 2013

I just got in touch with one of the guys in BO at a BB. He said he's getting $60-65k this year, asked not to mention company name/give exact salary. Also gave me these ranges from some friends of his in BO (1-3 years exp):

-BofA in NYC is making $65-70k
-BofA in Charlotte is making $50-55k
-2 guys at JPM in NYC are making $60-65k
-GS in SLC is making $50-55k

Aug 9, 2013

This was why I said the salaries for BO typically start around 55k. Yes, of course there are one off situations where you can make more depending on certain groups and location. But making $70k or more is not the norm at all as a first year analyst, even in NYC for BO.

Aug 9, 2013

Yea I hear ya, wasn't debating that, but my data points were off (heard "I'm making 70k this year" as "my salary is $70k"). Also, he said that he's heard of almost every major firm paying $70k base starting out for BO, but they also pay less than that too. It might just be the max starting salary?

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Aug 9, 2013
yeahright:

This is probably going super in-depth but good information to get on the forum I suppose....

...for most BB's, as an analyst in the back office groups you are usually the bottom band and thus overtime eligible but do not get a bonus. This could very well push people into the $65-70k range quite easily at 1.5x OT rate if they are working 60 hour weeks. This holds true at my BB as I looked when I started at the designations. Analysts in Ops, Tech, Marketing, etc. are all overtime eligible so if there base is 55k, working 50 hours would put them well above this. I bet if you asked the person at BofA if they get OT, they would say yes ;)

I was at a little over $70K all-in in Corp Fin/Accounting at a large AM/financial services co (think BlackRock or Fidelity). That included year end bonus (which was minimal) plus overtime pay (1.5x and I was probably working 50 hrs/week on average). Does not include HSA and retirement contributions. This was also 2 years ago.

Aug 9, 2013

That'd also be considered MO, if I've got my offices correct. The way I understand it MO makes the same salary as FO, just not the same bonuses

Aug 9, 2013

Were you a first year analyst at the time?

Aug 9, 2013

Yes. Base salary wasn't anything impressive, but I basically lived off of OT pay.

Aug 21, 2013

I would say risk is generally considered MO as they are not client facing. I know some people who've transitioned from BO (tech) to MBA and then to FO if that is something you are considering.

Aug 21, 2013

Bump

Aug 21, 2013

Asset Management isn't back office lol. Last summer, I got in at 9am and got out around 7 or 8pm. They may have taken it easy on me though since I was a sophomore.

Aug 21, 2013

Were you in Asset Management or something similar to controllers?

And yeah i messed up, AM isnt back office. I was mainly asking for BO works

Aug 21, 2013
Kylend:

Were you in Asset Management or something similar to controllers?

And yeah i messed up, AM isnt back office. I was mainly asking for BO works

It varies considerably depending on where you are.
IR during earnings or corporate development during lives deals could be considerably worse than 9 - 8.

Array

Aug 21, 2013

Well AM has a lot of BO people supporting it, but when you just say AM generically it sounds like FO. Also in addition to what others mentioned, BO in the NYC region will still be a lot of hours, and not dramatically less than the exaggerated IBD hours. 50 could be a bottom in slower periods, and 70 during real busy times depending on the group you're working for (though this is rare, like the 100 hour week for IBD). BO elsewhere though is pretty much standard 40-50.

Aug 21, 2013

10-12 hours a day. If your group is reconciling trades and all that garbage expect more hours around the end of month and quarter. I'm talking drastically more

Aug 21, 2013
pktkid10:

10-12 hours a day. If your group is reconciling trades and all that garbage expect more hours around the end of month and quarter. I'm talking drastically more

im having a hard time believing 10-12 is routine anywhere. occasionally the trade settlements guys would pull maybe 12, i saw it once during a 6 month rotation with ops, most of the people were in at 9 and out by 5

Aug 21, 2013

I work BO at a HF. Depending on what you're doing exactly, you're in between 6:30 and 8 AM, and leave anywhere between 5-7PM. If shit hits the fan, or there's special projects going on, you can expect later hours or the occasional odd weekend day for a couple hours. My counterparts at BBs work something 9AM to 6-8PM from what I've gathered. I average between 45-50 a week total, but I am still fairly junior.

Aug 21, 2013

Depends where you work. 40-60 is a very reasonable expectation. More than 60 is rare imo but can happen.

Aug 21, 2013

Get your level 1 and start networking and applying to boutiques. I would forget about the transferring from within angle. Start talking to some places and see if you can get an informational meeting with an MD or something. Not going to be easy, but it can be done.

You might want to look into B school in a couple years possibly.

Aug 21, 2013

Id say hanging in the BO for too long will actually hurt your chances for a FO gig...

Aug 21, 2013

.

Aug 21, 2013

try to contact a FO MD. let him know your strong interest and show your capabilities. tell him your supervisor doesn't know that and you want it to be secret at the moment.

i have a close friend transferred from a BB S&T BO to FO. internal transfer is the same difficult as you're finding jobs outside and maybe be even riskier. but my friend says it's worth trying.

anyway, don't give up your dream. good luck!

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.----William Shakespeare

Aug 21, 2013

btw, i'm not sure how BBs view non-ivy league graduates. (my friend was very qualified just not lucky enough when first applied for FO jobs, at least i think so.)
but being confident and proactive is always something FO look for.

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.----William Shakespeare

Aug 21, 2013

to hell

Aug 21, 2013

I think a lot of the stuff you hear is hyperbole, but BO will get treated like shit many times. A BO fuck up or rule can cost a trader a lot of money. Hearing crap about trade reconciling issues to a guy with his PnL on the line will result in some rage.

Aug 21, 2013

I think it ultimately comes down to competence. Anywhere in the bank, if you don't #(%(# things up, you don't get yelled at. If you do #($%(# things up- especially when it comes to markets- you can get yelled at pretty badly.

I think the difference is that while BO at most banks pays better than the tech firms, you don't get the same upside for the stress. Also, BO is sometimes not as well managed as front office. You will only notice which firms are managed well and which are managed badly after you work for a couple different firms/groups and have seen what works and what doesn't. (Also, sometimes it's not your immediate manager's fault, but it will look like it since he has to cover for the higher-ups).

Aug 21, 2013
IlliniProgrammer:

I think it ultimately comes down to competence. Anywhere in the bank, if you don't #(%(# things up, you don't get yelled at. If you do #($%(# things up- especially when it comes to markets- you can get yelled at pretty badly.

I think the difference is that while BO at most banks pays better than the tech firms, you don't get the same upside for the stress. Also, BO is sometimes not as well managed as front office. You will only notice which firms are managed well and which are managed badly after you work for a couple different firms/groups and have seen what works and what doesn't. (Also, sometimes it's not your immediate manager's fault, but it will look like it since he has to cover for the higher-ups).

Cosign. A lot of people in the BO just aren't that good at what they do. It's not like you have an army of really smart people doing operations and things never go wrong. Working in the BO is mostly a job of fixing other people's mistakes and when people make the same mistakes over and over again and it starts affecting the FO, you've got trouble on your hands.

Aug 21, 2013

Think about it, why would traders yell at each other? I don't care about someone else's P&L as much as mine. Thats why even if a MD in operations screws up a junior trader's trades, he is going to get yelled at.

Same with Ibanking. We are a team but if systems go down then we all yell at IT and call them constantly.

Aug 21, 2013

BO = SCUM

Aug 21, 2013

I dunno. I spent two years in MO (Quant Analytics) and the folks I worked with would typically run circles around the front office when it came to mathematics and finance. Sounds like someone fell for a prank from the backoffice again. What is it this time? Did some IT guy tell you a callable bond meant you could get previous day financial statements from the CFO? :D

Aug 21, 2013

no, but all I can tell you is that MO = SCUM as well, since BO and MO aren't FO and (1 - FO) = SCUM. Hows that for quant analytics.

Aug 21, 2013

Riiiight. Good luck with those year-end reviews; you might need it. Oh well, when you get tossed out on your butt, a BO guy will probably transfer to take your place.

Folks, if you're a douche and something keeps breaking on you at really inopportune times, it might not be an accident. That's why I'm always nice to our technology guys and administrative assistants. :D

Aug 21, 2013

BO people aren't treated that poorly. I totally agree with IlliniProgrammer that if you are at a big bank and are incompetent you are going to get yelled at regardless. However, where I work I think generally we appreciate the help from back office employees and things are generally all tied close together.

Just another member of the larger team, nobody is treated better or worse than anyone else (unless you are terrible at your job).

"You've got to belong to it."

Aug 21, 2013

Illinois is clearly in the back office. I mean I don't agree with gupta's strong statement about how BO is scum but look at how defensive he gets it doesn't even make sense.

"I spent two years in MO (Quant Analytics) and the folks I worked with would typically run circles around the front office when it came to mathematics and finance. Sounds like someone fell for a prank from the backoffice again. What is it this time? Did some IT guy tell you a callable bond meant you could get previous day financial statements from the CFO? :D"

The facetious smiley face at the end as you are boiling with sarcastic rage is just icing on the cake.

Aug 21, 2013
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Aug 21, 2013