- Base salaries for investment bankers reached all-time highs in 2021 amid a hiring frenzy.
- Pay soared everywhere, but particularly at boutique firms, which tend to pay more than big banks.
- Insider got salary stats from H-1B Visa data, a survey of analysts, inside sources, and job postings.
Wall Street has for decades been one of the most lucrative career paths out there — it’s probably one of the only industries where you can rake in a six-figure salary your first year out of college.
Compensation in investment banking particularly reached never-before-seen heights in 2021, as Insider previously reported, sparked by a post-COVID deal flow boom and a subsequent hiring frenzy. Some of the biggest beneficiaries of that trend were those at “boutique” firms — smaller banks lesser known to industry outsiders — like Moelis, Lazard, and Evercore. That’s because in many cases, boutique banks pay employees more than their bulge-bracket neighbors.
To find out exactly how much analysts, associates, vice presidents, and more make at boutique firms, Insider pulled data about nine firms from several sources: a survey of Wall Street bankers by recruitment firm Odyssey Search Partners, the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s disclosure information for H1-B visa holders, job postings, and people who work for these firms.
The research shows that annual base pay has soared by tens of thousands of dollars since the last time Insider looked at boutique bank salaries in October 2020. At that time, a first-year banker at a top boutique bank might have been paid $95,000 a year. Today, these specialty banks are paying first-time bankers working on M&A, debt raising, and IPOs between $100,000 and $140,000.
That’s not even including year-end bonuses, which can add significantly to —sometimes doubling — pay. Of course, the economy is in a very different place than it was in 2021, when Wall Street enjoyed its biggest bonuses since before the Great Recession.
Higher interest rates and soaring inflation has slowed corporate spending amid prognostications of a gloom-and-doom economy being espoused by CEOs like Jamie Dimon and Elon Musk. Wall Street has suffered a drought in mergers, IPOs, and other dealmaking, and consulting firm Johnson Associates predicts bonuses for IB employees will drop by as much as 45%, as a result.
Despite the slowdown, Wall Street is still hiring, as the job postings listed below demonstrate. And as Insider has previously reported, boutique banks rank among the best places to work on Wall Street. Compensation plays into that, and base salaries, which don’t change, will prove even more important as Wall Street bonuses decline.
Banks tend to pay the same rate for all investment bankers at the same level and with the same title. In some cases, however, Insider could only confidently report salaries as a range. For each salary and position reported, Insider used the most recent information available. Here is the breakdown:
Note: The data for H1-B visa holders does not break out salaries by division, which means the data may include pay for investment banking roles as well as employees in other divisions, like consumer banking, technology, or wealth management. Still, the data offers insights into how much one can expect to earn at elite Wall Street banks.
The firm says on its website that it has advised on nearly $3 trillion of transactions since its founding in 2006, including companies like US Foods and McDonald’s. Centerview has five international office locations, but does not currently list any job postings on its website. According to LinkedIn, there are about 466 employees.
- Analyst level 1: $130,000 as of 2021
Centerview did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on the salary data.
Evercore has about 2,160 employees across 11 countries and was No. 1 in “advisory revenues among independent firms” in 2021, according to the company’s 2022 Q3 report. The firm has 21 job openings on its website, from summer analyst positions to experienced hire roles.
- Analyst level 1: $120,000 as of 2022
- Analyst level 2: $130,000 as of 2022
- Associate level 1: $159,619.00 to $185,000.00 as of 2022
- Associate level 2: $160,000 to $200,000 as of 2022
- Associate level 3: $159,619.00 to $225,000 as of 2022
- Associate level 4: $159,619 to $250,000 as of 2022
- Vice President level 1: $215,000 to $275,000 as of 2022
- Vice President level 2: $215,000.00 to $275,000 as of 2022
Evercore declined to comment on these reports, but a source close to the firm confirmed analyst salary rates.
FT Partners specializes in FinTech (industry jargon for financial technology) advisory, meaning it mainly works on deals involving companies that have to do with payment services and applications. Appropriately, they’re based in San Francisco. The firm has advised companies like BlackStone and Truebill on sales and investments, and has more than 250 employees globally, according to their website. There are currently 10 job openings on its LinkedIn page.
- Analyst level 1: $140,000 as of 2021
- Associate (with 2 years experience): $200,000
FT Partners did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on the salary data.
Guggenheim has more than 2,000 employees who manage more than $285 billion in assets, according to its website. The firm has headquarters in New York and Chicago, with tens of open positions on their website.
- Analyst level 1: $110,000 – $130,000
- Associate (with 3+ years experience): $175,000 and $225,000
- Vice president: $250,000 – $275,000
Guggenheim did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on the salary data.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, the firm has facilitated transactions to companies like Hershey and Unilever, according to its website. It has more than 3,000 employees according to LinkedIn and more than 200 open positions. During last year’s hiring frenzy, it offered its employees all-expenses paid trips and $10,000 “spot” bonuses.
- Analysts (level not specified): $100,000 to $125,000 as of 2021
- Associate: $120,000 to $225,000 as of 2022
- Vice President: $225,000 as of 2022
A source close to the firm confirmed the salary data.
Headquartered in Bermuda, with principal offices in NYC, London and Paris, Lazard has more than 3,300 employees. There are nearly 40 job openings listed on their LinkedIn. They’ve worked on deals like a sale for Rolls-Royce and an investment for Intel, according to their Q3 report.
- Analysts (level unspecified): $120,000 to $125,000 as of 2022
- Associate (level unspecified): $185,000 to $250,000 as of 2022
- Vice President (level unspecified): $275,000 as of 2022
- Director (level unspecified): $300,000 as of 2022
A person familiar with Lazard’s salaries confirmed these reports.
Moelis & Co.
Moelis has 21 offices across the globe with a handful of job openings on their LinkedIn. The firm was ranked by Fortune as part of the top 100 fastest growing companies in 2022, which according to the publication has under 1,000 employees.
- Analyst level 1: $110,000 as of 2022
- Analyst level 1+: $110,000 to $175,000 as of 2022
- Associate (level unspecified): $175,000 to $225,000 as of 2022
- Vice President (level unspecified): $250,000 as of 2022
Moelis & Co. declined to comment on the salary data.
Rothschild & Co.
Based in Paris, but with offices in several US cities, Rothschild has 3,600 employees, according to their website. The firm was No. 2 in number of completed transactions for the first half of 2022, according to their August press release. They have many open positions posted on their website across offices in 50 countries.
- Analyst level 1: $110,000 as of 2021
- Associate (3 years of experience): $175,000 and $225,000
- Vice President: $250,000 and $275,000
Rothschild & Co. declined to comment on the salary data.
This Chicago-based firm has more than 1,900 employees throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. They list plenty of openings on their website, from managers to assistants and analysts.
- Analyst level 1: $110,000 as of 2021
A source close to the firm confirmed this salary data.