Salary negotiation

I got to fill an application for an investment firm (big mutual fund) and it asks for salary request.

Here is my situation:

  • I already work in the buyside (only 1year) at a small family office hedge fund (think 200M AUM) and have passed 2 levels of the CFA. I have about 2.5 years of experience but only 1 in buyside (plus an internship 3 years ago) but been involved with stocks for at least 3-5 years. I am grossly underpaid and actually took a pay cut to get this job just because i really wanted to work for this person and this industry; i actually offered to work for free just to get the experience but he ended up paying me slightly less than my previous job.

  • So lets say i make abourt 50k plus potential eoy bonus which i probably will not get if i leave before and the new job is basically ~70-75k base plus 20-25k bonus at the entry level for kids out of school (this is a pretty standardized program). What is my leverage in negotiating the salary since they gonna try to underpay me due to my current low salary even though my value is higher than that. Is it too crazy to request $85k base + bonus say 110-120k all in comp arguing that i am currently grossly underpaid because I wanted the opportunity over the money but now is time to be paid adequately in line with my skills. Also I can say that the # should be in line with a more experienced person working in that position rather than the first year associates.

What do you think is the best to negotiate starting with what should i request on the application form knowing that previous 2 salaries (also to be provided on the form) will be in the 50k 60k range.

I don’t know. Say 80k or 90k, I guess. Although I understand what you’re getting at, it might seem a bit forward to ask for 2x your current pay.

what is this EUR?

i think if they want you, the worst that could happen (by asking too much), is that they come back with a lower offer… go for the higher end of the range and act like the BSD that you are.

If you don’t believe you’re worth it, your employer won’t either.

Basically if you’re underpaid, then research what the new job responsibilities are commanding in today’s market. Thats your justification: what this job commands in the market - then show/tell them why you are a bargain even at this price (because you’re competent and easy to work with). If they try to pin you to your old number, you tell them that it doesn’t make sense for you to move for less than an x bump.

If you’re overpaid, then you use your last comp figure as your base for bargaining and say that it doesn’t make sense to move for less than a 25% bump.

In negotiation on price, your first number should be the highest defensible number you can find. It doesn’t have to be the most reasonable number: it just has to have some faintly justifiable basis and pass the laugh test.

What exactly is the job you’re applying for? I work for a large mutual fund company so I may be able to provide some insight into appropriate comp ranges.

Forget about your previous salary record. There’s a range in place for every person in this role at the firm you’re applying to. The trick is to convince them to place you at the top end of the range. That will come down to your comp expectations and, mostly, who you’re up against. They’re not going to low-ball you because you haven’t made much in previous jobs.

In the end, you’re probably talking about a $20k window of opportunity.

Thanks for your message sweep the leg. I am applying to a typical research associate position; thing is profile are ranging from out of school to 2 3 years of experience for that position so im sure they are somehow flexible within a certain range depending on your profile. Also my experience is directly related to this position buy side fundamental research and I have 2 level of CFA (If it matters) so I want to be at least paid as someone entering thios program with experience (like a second year associate which im not sure what they make maybe 80/85 + 20). Also i may want to up that a bit saying i need to be compensated for delaying Business school (but i can quickly drop that if it doesnt quiet work)

Not sure about European asset managers. If you were here in the states for a 1st year associate I’d probably ask for $110k, hope for $100k, and expect $90k. $110k isn’t fantastical but it is a little high. Gives them some room to come back with a number you should be happy with.

haha so true

Do research associates at other companies make that much money? I am working at a big mutual fund company in boston as a research associate. i am pretty sure the base is between 60k - 65k, and bonus could range between 8k - 15k. I started a year ago with 1.5 years of experience. I have a master degree in finance and just passed Level III. I do feel that I am underpaid and plan to ask for a raise to 72k in my next review.

Is there much info about what is paid on Glassdoor?

A rosy salary quote, say 50%+ above what you are earning currently, if you feel you are so under-paid, can turn adversarial to final decision some times.

The currrent market scneario is just so screwed up that every position/person is going trough some kind of litmus test. Can the project run without you being there? If yes, then you are just shown the exit. The over supply of candidates for potential job openings has made the job market an employer’s game.

Earlier the situation used to be such that if an employer is impressed with the skill set you are gonna offer, he will try to baragain, say -10% of your expected quote, and then would offer you the job. But now you may not even get a call back if the expected quote looks unrealistic.

There could be N factors which can contribute to the salary hike, but please note that in these times the salary you are drawing now is the predominant yardstick.

Depends on a number of things. How big is the team you’re on? Do you get comp’d on risk-adjusted performance, AUM or some mix of both?

If you work at a fund company where their are 20 people on a team, then $100k for the bottom rung guy is high. If you work for a smaller team that has, say, only three or four tiers - Sr PM, PM, Sr. Analyst, Analyst - there’s a good chance that most junior guy is still easily making over $100k.

It also matters if you have centralized research or not. Generally I’ve found that team-based shops pay their guys a little better than centralized research shops. Probably because retaining people on a team is more important. Also, I don’t see too many analysts join a team without having 3-5 years experience.

Anyway, those are just some examples. If you find a large asset manager that likes to run funds with small teams that do all their own research it would be hard to make less than $100k. Go to a big asset manager with a huge team of analysts that provide research to several strategies…entry level $100k is high.

A lot depends on where this firm is located. A firm in Baltimore, MD or Kansas City, MO, or Santa Fe, NM doesn’t pay the same as NYC, Boston or even Philadelphia. The OP is in France, so if the job is in France or elsewhere in Europe, much of what is discussed here so far won’t be applicable.

The pay range in the industry is very, very wide. For a given job description, I’ve seen salaries range from 55k to 150k. The reason is that each firm is different not only in AUM or investing style, but also long-only vs hedge fund, fee structure, overhead (including size of the back office), and even how much the owner takes home versus shares with the employees! For the big mutual fund shops, they are narrower, and they compete for analysts from the same pool as their peers. For example, a very good buy-side analyst with 5-7 or more years of expereince at a big firm in a “tier one” city should get 150-200 base, and can match that amount for bonus. That number looks more like 90-150k and 80k for the second or third tier cities.

I know when I was applying to job out of college 12 years ago, research associates were getting about $50k (Wall St analyst program or the few buyside shops that took undergrads with zero experience) plus 10-20k bonus combined signing bonus and year-end bonus. I’m sure it is higher now. I would guess that for someone with 2-3 years of experience and level III candidacy in the CFA program should get 70-90k. Then, over the years, you should be moving twoard 150k. Remember that top MBA program grads get a median salary of 85-90k.

If you can put down a range, put down a range of, say, 70-90k. These large shops have pretty standard ranges by level, so just don’t shoot way too high and look like someone out of touch with reality (remember, as an analyst, you are supposed to be good at researching, analyzing and estimating!), you should try to just overlap your range with what you think their range is. If they want you, they will pay the high end of their range.

Have you thought about just not telling the employer how much you made in previous roles? After I got into business school over two years ago, I decided not to talk about prior employer salary anymore. One time someone asked me why I didn’t write my prior salary on the application form when they were doing the reference check, and I simply said that I’d consider sharing it with them if there was a compelling reason, but otherwise I didn’t see why it was essential that I disclose it since it seemed like they had enough information to make a decision on my candidacy. When asked again, I simply said, “I’d rather focus on discussing the salary for my potential current role than a previous role, because I’m committed to talking about my plans to help you as a firm going forward, not looking backward. If I understand the nature of our conversation correctly, I think both you and I want me to work here, and both you and I think I’m more than capable of doing an excellent job here.”

They never asked me for what my salary was and I ended up getting fair compensation, in-line with or slightly above market, for my summer MBA internship at a hedge fund. Your move may vary but I always go into any negotiation as confident, open-minded and courteous as possible, never sacrificing one quality for the other.

The difference is less than you think. I work in KC but we have offices all over. The guys in NYC do get a cost of living adjustment, but it’s based on an actual city CoL index. We pay well regardless of location to attract and retain top talent. If you think about it, it makes sense. We have to pay people more to get them to KC in the first place. Our goal is to pay our FO people - investment mgmt and sales - top quartile comp based on industry standards no matter where they live. Given that many employees prefer to live in KC. Better bang for their buck.

Then I stand corrected. I was basing my comments on both my job search experience and what institutional salespeople have told me about their buyside accounts in 2nd/3rd tier cities. Do you agree with my range for the very strong 5-7+ year analyst?

If I could move my current pay to a much lower cost of living city, then I would almost certainly do it!

For an analyst with 5-7 years experience you shouldn’t have trouble making around $150k even here in KC. Data analysts and performance monitoring guys (technically analysts) that are attached to the strategies aren’t pulling down that much. But, research guys? Yes, absolutely. $80k after five years experience is low…really low. They’re not just handing out jobs though. Being an analyst on a good team is a sweet gig. You’re compenstated as such.