Investment Banking, a lucrative dreamland of many high-achieving Finance students who want to strike gold before their silver birthday. Total compensation for Investment Bankers varies across regions and among Bulge Bracket, Middle Market and Boutique Banks. In this article, we give you an inside look of investment banking salary variations. 

1. How much money do Investment Bankers make?

Here is the average compensation per year for top U.S Investment Banks: 


Base Salary


Total Compensation

Summer Analyst




$85K – $100K

$50K – $100K

$135K – $200K


$100K – $120K

$80K – $130K

$180K – $250K

Vice President

$120K – $150K

$100K – $250K

$220K – $400K

Managing Director

$300K – $1M

$200K – $10M+


There are 3 components for Investment Banking bonus:

  • Stub bonus: commonly a portion of full bonus (20-30% of year 1 salary) given for employees who come in after the calendar has already begun. For example, when analysts/associates are hired in the summer, they will receive a stub bonus for their first 6 months on the job. 
  • Signing bonus: one-time signing bonus in the range of $10K-$15K for first-year analysts and $50-$60 for first-year associates. 
  • End-of-year bonus: It is 70-100% of base salary paid for employees after the first full year of work. Senior bankers receive more than the base salary and even many times that figure. In some Bulge Bracket banks, the majority of their bonus is paid in deferred or stock-based compensation while Elite Boutique and Middle Market totally pay bonus in cash.

2. What determines the salary of Investment Bankers?

2.1. The type of firm

2020 BBB

Each Investment Bank works on different deal types. Bulge Bracket banks are mostly involved in various services such as M&A, equity/debt issuances, restructuring Restructuring while Middle Market or Elite Boutique work on a specific deal type such as M&A or Restructuring. Thus, most elite firms pay for their employees generously: 

  • Elite Boutique banks like Evercore or Lazard are ranked as the highest paying investment banks which offer their entry levels $96.000 compared to the average base salary $85.000. 
  • Bulge Bracket or some elite middle market generally pay their entry levels with average scale $85.000.
  • Middle Market or some Boutique banks often pay lower than the average scale but offer a much better lifestyle.

2.2. The success of the firm


The firm’s performance will materially affect the amount of end-of-year bonus for employees. When the revenue is lagging, Investment banks have to face some defections and cut bonuses to reduce cost. Thus, banks’ past performance might be helpful for you to compare compensation among many investment banks. 

In 2020 – a year of recession, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley are leading banks by revenue. The endless money printing from central banks leads to a surge in debt & equity issuance and M&A activity in the second half of 2020 though at the beginning, investment bankers are freaked about the bonuses when they work from home.  

Generally, the base salary for associates is up a bit at some Bulge Bracket banks while that figure for analysts remains the same. 

Leading banks worldwide in 2020, by revenue from investment banking

(in million U.S. dollars) (Source:

2.3. The success of the group

Investment banks categorize their groups primarily around industries and compete with others by the number of deals closed within an industry. The more revenue your group produces, the more bonus you receive. 

Top performing IB groups by number of deals and fees 2020 (Source FT)

During the pandemic, financials and high technology are the top performing groups by deals.  When it comes to the fee, there is a slight change in all industries compared to last year. Financials, high technology, healthcare and industrials uptick around 0.3% while energy and power declines 0,02%.  

Top performing Investment Banks in industries by fees 2020 (Source FT)

JP Morgan rounds out the top Investment banks having the highest fee in many industries such as Financials, Healthcare, Energy and Power, Media and Entertainment, Real Estate and Consumer Staples. Besides, Goldman Sachs is ranked as the second best performing with the dominance in Industrials, Consumer Product & Services and Telecommunications. 

2.4. Individual performance


Along with the success of the firm and group, individual performance determines the bonus for each employee. For example, an absolute top achieving analyst gets 100% of their base salary as a bonus while the poorer performer might receive 70% of their base. When climbing up the ladder, senior bankers mostly receive bonuses based on their own performance. Specifically, 1% commission for deals worth less than $1bn while deals worth more than that would come with 0.1% commission. 

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3. Investment Banking Analyst Salary


Base Salary


Total Compensation

1st year analyst


$65K – $85K

$150K – $170K with stub & signing bonus

2nd year analyst


$75K – $95K

$160K – $180K

3rd year analyst


$75 – $105K

$180K – $200K

Analysts take $135K-$200K in total with base salary $85K – $100K and bonus $50K – $100K (excluding stub and signing bonus). In EB banks, entry levels start at $95.000 with more than 100% of base salary as their bonus, then they can make over $200.000 in total. In the meanwhile, for boutique banks, the base salary for analysts might be around $70.000. 

Investment Banks

Base Salary



Merrill Lynch, BMO Capital markets, Nomura Holdings


Barclays, Deutsche Bank, William Blair, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse


UBA, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citi


Investment Bank analyst salary ranking by base salary 2020 (Source: Research Firm, Glassdoor)

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4. Investment Banking Associate Salary

100-120 80-130 180-250


Base Salary


Total Compensation

Stub year


$30K – $40K stub bonus paid in Jan/Feb

$150K – $170K with stub & signing bonus

1st year associate


$90K – $130K

$240K – $270K

2nd year associate

$170K – $200K

$100 – $200K

$270K – $400K

3rd year associate

$200K – $220

$120K – $220K

$320K – $440K

Investment banking associates tend to make $180.000 – $250.000 per year with base salary $100.000 – $120.000 and bonus $80.000 – $130.000. 1st year associates might earn less than $200.000 but their salary progression is promising for the next 2-3 years. 

Bonus for associates is around 70% – 125% of their base salary and some associates can take home more than $450.000. 

5. Investment Banking Salary in USA, UK, India, Canada

Total compensation for investment banking is lower outside the U.S and the working hours are better than the U.S. 

Levels & Years





Analyst (<5 years)

$135K – $200K

£80K – £110K


<₹ 1,100,000

Associate (5-10 years)

$180K  – $250K

£120K – £220K


<₹ 1,935,000

VP (10-20 years)

$220K – $400K

£250K – £350K


₹1,980,000 – ₹5,667,000

Director/MD (>20 years)

$200K – $10Mil+



Not available

Source: mbacrystalball

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6. Investment Banking vs Private Equity? Which one is profitable?

A typical pathway for most high-achieving business and finance graduates is to work at Bulge Bracket banks or Elite Boutique banks for 2 years and exit to top-tier Private Equity.


Investment Banking Total Compensation

Private Equity Total Compensation




$135K – $200K

$100K – $150K



$180K – $250K

$150K -$300K


Senior Associates


$250K – $400K


Vice President

$220K – $400K

$350K – $500K


Managing Director


$700K – $2Mil

Very large

Private Equity generally offers better remuneration than Investment Banking. However, it is true for top-tier private equity firms. The base salary of top investment banks is comparable with that of mega Private Equity and the big difference lies in the bonus – carried payments in Private Equity. 

On base salary, mid-senior IB analysts or mid-senior IB associates tend to earn more if they become Private Equity associates. In the meanwhile, when an IBP associates exit to Private Equity associates, their compensation might not be better unless they work in top-tier Private Equity. 

Carried interest is a portion of profits shared with Private Equity Professionals or General Partners who manage the fund. Associate level hardly receive carry and it could take 5-7 years to get that big payment while investment bankers take home annual bonus. Thus, when working in Private Equity, people tend to commit for a long time until the carried payments are being paid-out. 

7. Is Investment Banking a good career?

Regardless of hectic schedules, Investment Banking is an extremely lucrative career for fresh graduates to earn up to $160.000 per year. It pays even more than management consulting that a consultant out of undergrad makes $75.000 – 90.000 in total. In Investment Banking, you can certainly get six-figure paychecks but make sure you are ready to sacrifice all your life for that pay. 

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