Investment Banker Salary & Compensation, Average Bonus in Banking

Patrick Curtis

Reviewed by

Patrick Curtis WSO Editorial Board

Expertise: Investment Banking | Private Equity

Investment Banking Salary & Compensation

Investment Banker Salary + Bonus:

  • Analyst - First Year: $70k - $150k
  • Analyst - Third Year: $120K - $350K
  • Associate - First Year: $150K - $350K
  • Associate - Third Year: $250K - $500K
  • Vice President: $350K - $1.5MM
  • Managing Director/Partner: $500K - $20MM+

These figures are an approximation and rough range based on the user registration data on Wall Street Oasis, as well as the thousands of discussions on compensation that the community has had around compensation at these levels.

Below is a sample table of investment banker salaries and bonuses from the WSO Investment Banking Industry Report (updated daily). If you contribute to the WSO Company Database, you can get access to thousands of detailed compensation statistics across thousands of investment banks without paying a dime.

Investment Banking Salary & Compensation

Bonuses for Investment Bankers by Position

Above are approximations to investment banking compensation at various levels of seniority (in this case pulled from the WSO Investment Banking Industry Report with over 50,000 submissions).

From analysts to managing directors, the pay is traditionally heavily weighted toward the investment banking bonus portion of the compensation, which is part of the reason for such long hours.

Obviously, these figures can vary significantly depending on the firm and region, so if you are looking for more detailed or firm-specific salary and bonus data, you should check out the WSO Company Database which has thousands of detailed submissions.

  • At the analyst level, it is not uncommon to work between 80 to 120 hour weeks at some of the more demanding firms. Most analysts start in the summer and receive their first investment banking analyst bonus around June or July, approximately one year after they start working.
  • At the associate level, the hours are usually still long, however, traditionally 10-20% less than that of analysts. Some associates are internal promotes, but the majority have attained an MBA. Associates also receive a sign-on bonus, traditionally from $10k to $30k, and a stub bonus.
  • The salary and bonus for Vice Presidents and Managing Directors in investment banking has a much higher variance but is usually much more of a function of the firm's performance. At the more senior levels, pay is based more off of individual revenue generating performance.

Investment Banking Salary at Different Firms

In our salary database, we have compiled a list of the banks that pay the best. Remember, these firms are all ranked based on thousands of Company Database submissions. Click below to access.

Investment Banking Company Salary

Investment Banking Salary Progression - Analyst to MD

Investment Banking Salary Progression - Analyst to MDWSO User @Sil nicely sums up how bonuses differ based on position in investment banking:

  • No investment banking analyst will get a bonus equal to multiples of his base salary.
  • As you move up the ladder, the percentage of your all-in comp that is paid out as a discretionary bonus increases because you move from an analytical employee to one who brings revenue into the bank and are paid based on that.

Investment Banking Associate Compensation

For post-MBA associates, all-in compensation varies a good deal with signing bonus, relocation bonus, early signing bonus, and stub bonus. For base, you can expect around 125k. Bonuses are in the range of 40-60k. All-in, you can expect anywhere from 200-300k.

Investment Banker Earnings vs. Private Equity Salary

Investment Banker Earnings vs. Private Equity SalaryThere's a lot of uncertainty regarding private equity salary because the pay structure is quite different from investment banking. Here's a nice summary of which pays more and what variables determine that by WSO User "Draper_LDN".

  • Depends on the level you are in Investment Banking vs the entry at PE. If you joined as a previous Associate, your pay will be higher.
  • The bonus element at PE firms tends to be less when comparing Associate PE to Associate IB and a big part of the post-tax bonus will be used for deal carry payments (depending on Fund). The big payment in PE comes when you get a carry pay-out, which can takes many years all depending on timing, fund structure, your employment contract terms, etc.
  • With PE, you are slightly more committed to the fund as you have to stay with the firm until the carry payments are being paid out. A managing director in Investment banking could get an annual bonus of 250-500k, whereas in PE you could easily pull PS1-5m in carry payments at the senior level.
  • All in all - you will get rich either way. It all depends on what you like to do!

IB Salary in New York vs. Other Cities (LA, SF, Chicago)

One question that we get a lot is whether salaries in America vary depending on where you work. The short is answer is no. Salaries do not vary geographically in America. Here's some notes from @Gbanker74160, who goes into why the pay is the same geographically.

That isn't to say that there aren't strong long-term career benefits to working in NY IB. Namely, there are ton of financial opportunities in the metro area. In other places, the financial community is smaller and exit/lateral ops might be harder to find.

This isn't a huge issue in large cities (SF, LA, Chicago, Dallas/Houston, Boston). But if you're in, say, Charlotte, Atlanta, or Denver, then there's definitely a sizable drop and your prestige point holds true.

You can move from NY IB to a HF outside NY. That said, there aren't too many HFs outside NY, relatively speaking, and moving across coasts can be challenging.

And being at a NY IB wouldn't specifically help you with this and would probably hurt you compared to someone at a leading group already in the HF's location.

So if you want to end up at Oak Tree, Ares, Value Act, Farralon, or what have you, you might be better off starting on the west coast, and the same goes for funds in TX.

Investment Banking Pay vs. Consulting Salary

Investment Banker Earnings vs. Consulting SalaryInvestment banking pays more than consulting, but that's to be expected with the hectic hours.

In general, management consultants out of undergrad typically earn 75-90k all-in. Top firms, like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG, pay around 100k. Certainly, expect to make more in investment banking, but you put in the work for it.

Banker Average Hourly Wage

Let's do some quick math. Working 80 hours/week at 130k all-in compensation for 53 weeks in the year is an hourly wage of $30.66. Of course, this is an approximation. Some will make more while working fewer hours while some will make less working more.

M&A Salary and Top IB Group Comp

Evidently, investment banking is a well-compensated field. There are few jobs that pay six figures+ to immediate college graduates.

It's important to note that when looking at these average banker salaries, some of the top groups like M&A and top industry groups at the elite investment banks pay even more than these figures. This is true especially in the higher cost of living cities like New York and London.

That said, the real money is at the top. Even if you find investment banking isn't for you, you learn an incredible amount, build a great network, and the exit opportunities are unparalleled - but that's a discussion for another time.

Want Investment Banking Compensation, Company Reviews, and More?

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Interested in Investment Banking - Breaking In

The fact of the matter is you won't improve unless you practice. To have any chance at the technical questions, you need to prepare yourself with legitimate questions. The Wall Street Oasis Investment Banking Interview Course is designed by countless professionals with real-world experience, tailored to help you break into investment banking by acing the technical questions.

Sample Compensation Distribution in WSO Company Database Shown Below (for HSBC)

Patrick Curtis

Patrick Curtis is a member of WSO Editorial Board which helps ensure the accuracy of content across top articles on Wall Street Oasis. He has experience in investment banking at Rothschild and private equity at Tailwind Capital along with an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. He is also the founder and current CEO of Wall Street Oasis. This content was originally created by member and has evolved with the help of our mentors.