Title Hierarchy at Citi vs BAML vs Morgan Stanley

banktechie's picture
Rank: Monkey | 35

Hi, I wanted to ask for some advice from folks who have worked in MS, Citi and BAML on the seniority of the titles I am being offered.

I'm currently an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley and have two offers on the table to move - Senior Vice President at Citi or Director at BAML.

At Morgan Stanley, ED is the level below MD and I believe Director is also the level below MD at BAML. However, I'm conscious that at Citi, SVP is not the level below MD and there is a Director grade in between. The hiring manager tried to downplay my position as ED at Morgan Stanley and claimed it was equivalent to SVP at Citi. Personally, I felt that I should at least be able to claim the Director title but appreciate there is no direct way to compare the two.

Am I being played by the hiring manager at Citi? Should I therefore go for the offer at BAML? I don't want to be taking a step back in my career.

How Do Rankings Work at the Different Banks?

Our users shared the following progressions for MS, Citi, and Bank of America.

Morgan Stanley progression is: Associate -> VP -> ED -> MD
Citi progression is: AVP -> VP -> SVP -> Director -> MD
BAML progression is: Analyst -> Associate -> Vice President -> Director -> Managing Director

When in doubt you can refer to this generic hierarchy break down.

Read More About Bank Hierarchy on WSO

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Comments (18)

Jul 24, 2017

As an associate I'm in no position to give advice, but without more detail, those that could offer an educated opinion will be unable to. I would honestly talk to friends or mentors about this.

Jul 24, 2017

You can't ask HR what the hierarchy structure is?

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Jul 24, 2017

Morgan Stanley progression is: Associate -> VP -> ED -> MD
Citi progression is: AVP -> VP -> SVP -> Director -> MD

There are a different number of rungs between the firms which is why I am asking on this forum.

Jul 24, 2017

BAML is Analyst -> Associate -> Vice President -> Director -> Managing Director

Jul 24, 2017

Why would you even consider moving to a potentially lower (or at least hierarchically equal) position at another bank?

Jul 24, 2017

To get exposure to a different set of responsibilities, projects and clients in a different organisation in order to expand both network and experience. As you say, I prefer NOT to sacrifice hierarchy in this move and it feels like the Citi option would be making that sacrifice but that's what I wanted to clarify on this forum. If you're in fact confirming that the Citi role is indeed a lower title then I won't be taking that offer at all.

Jul 24, 2017

Sounds reasonable. But no, I'm not confirming anything. As @eagles7" said, I'd just ask whoever approached about the hierarchy. Remember they approached you, so you have some type of upper hand in this; I'd ask around and contact the Citi HR telling him/her once you're sure that Citi Director = MS ED. You're obviously not going to take the SVP role if that's like you downgrading to VP at MS. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

Jul 24, 2017

Stay at Morgan Stanley. IMO

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Nov 27, 2017

.

    • 1
Jul 24, 2017

Well, BAML > Citi in almost all cases...

    • 1
Jul 24, 2017

Except for trading

Best Response
Jul 24, 2017

Depends what division you're talking about. In IBD, Citi progession is Analyst > Associate > Vice President > Director > MD. "Senior" is just a descriptor people included when they were in their final year of a title but otherwise meaningless.

Viewed another way, as a Director, you are officially up for promote to MD depending on revenue generation. As a VP, even a senior one, you are not.

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Jul 24, 2017

Director at BAML is equivalent to your current title as an ED at MS. Seeing as BAML is a far better bank for everything except trading, and the Citi opportunity would be a demotion, then you should either stay at MS or move to BAML. BAML has a lot of MS people btw, so might be a good option. They're also growing so a move to director would allow you to have a real shot in the next few years to kill it and make MD

Jul 24, 2017

I'm not your peer in terms of seniority, but a few questions / thoughts immediately spring to mind:

1) Couldn't this be as simple as an exercise in comparing pay grades? I though salary ranges are standardized across the street at those levels too. Do you not have visibility into base comp at the target firm?
2) Again - you have many years on me in industry experience - but in my opinion seeing someone with your profile lateral to a "lesser bank" with no title promotion, makes you think why? My first thought would be the individual has been told there is no path to MD. If you responded with the "additional responsibilities" bit, at your level I think most would view that as a fluff response trying to cover for the no promote.
3) Given #2 above, obviously if I were in your shoes I would under no circumstances take the job if it's set back in title, as I think that would be the biggest career trajectory red flag and you'd probably be setting yourself back several years to getting MD (worst case, could completely stifle career upward trajectory)

Jul 24, 2017

Not to hijack thread but figured I would ask here instead of making a thread.. curious..

Who do MDs in IB report to?

Jul 24, 2017
Nousernamehere:

Not to hijack thread but figured I would ask here instead of making a thread.. curious..

Who do MDs in IB report to?

Group heads generally.

Jul 24, 2017

Citi IBD is Analyst > Associate > Senior Associate > VP > Director > MD
"Senior Vice President" is relevant in other parts of the bank that don't follow that exact structure...HR is likely just reading the job description related to the opening so I would push for more clarity.

Nov 27, 2017
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