How much you’ll be paid working in mergers & acquisitions (M&A)

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If you start out in investment banking straight from university, you will be the envy of your peers – at least from a monetary point of view.

Investment banking analysts, particularly those in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), earn more than any other sector – in base salary alone – and then bonuses put some real clear water between both other industries and competing sectors within financial services.

In your first year in investment banking, you’ll earn £45k ($70k) plus a bonus of £27k ($42k), according to research by recruiters Dartmouth Partners. Over the past 12 months, as investment banks compete for talent and work harder to retain their junior employees, pay has headed up by an average of 20%.

In M&A, compensation increased by 12% in 2014, according to figures provided by executive search firm Options Group. Pay remains on a par with other front office banking jobs until VP level, at which point M&A bankers start to edge ahead of the competition.

It’s possible to earn $650k in total comp as a VP in M&A, compared to $625k for those in equity capital markets, for example. Managing directors can earn up to $1.6m, suggests Options Group, more than any other part of investment banking.

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