Roles in banking involve a steep learning curve, but substantial rewards are available for the very best people. Work hard, show initiative, get results and you’ll be on track to receive the best packages in the world of finance.

What are employers looking for?

During the last year, at the part-qualified level, banks have been looking for candidates with at least one year’s experience in a similar background – whether within the banking space or financial services. Banks tend to use bespoke systems that are industry specific; therefore, having previous experience of these systems would help to increase your chances of landing a new role.

In order to gain experience, candidates should look to complete internships within a bank in a similar role. Alternatively, graduates could look to gain experience within financial services allowing them the chance to work with bespoke systems specific to that sector – such as insurance or investment management.

Is it possible to move into banking from another finance sector?

Over the last 12 months it has become increasingly hard for newly-qualified ACAs to move directly into corporate finance roles. Experience within transaction services, business modelling, M&A, valuations or restructuring, however brief, has become almost a prerequisite for a recently-qualified accountant looking to move out of practice. Auditors and tax professionals looking to make the move have often struggled given their lack of deal exposure.

Salaries & rewards

Despite a reasonably flat year for M&A markets, most professional services firms were inundated with work and struggled to keep on top of headcount. Base salaries and overall compensation remains well above market rate, with a number of bigger firms and boutique consultancies embarking on prolonged recruitment campaigns throughout the year in an effort to fill critical talent shortages.

In terms of compensation, most of the market has now adjusted their analyst and associate packages in line with what the larger investment banks tend to pay in an effort to keep hold of key employees. A highly-rated associate with five or six years’ experience could now earn well in excess of £120k.

Lack of any work/life balance continues to be a key factor in the Analyst and Associate space, with many banks still merely paying lip service to any implementation or improvement plans.

However, most firms offer additional benefits to make their overall package very enticing. Extras like gym membership, pension and healthcare schemes, travel season ticket loans and social events are commonplace.

Job title Salary range Average bonus range
Mid market/Boutiques
Experienced Analyst/Executive £40,000 – £60,000 50–75%
Associate/Manager £60,000 – £80,000 60–100%
VP/Associate Director £80,000 – £125,000 60%+
Director £120,000+ 80%+
Larger investment banks
Analyst £55,000 – £80,000 50–80%
Associate £90,000 – £120,000 60%+
VP/Associate Director £130,000 – £150,000 70%+
Director/Executive Director £160,000 – £200,000 80%+

What’s the outlook?

The next year will be difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy. Most banks point to the likelihood that the M&A market will begin to improve, perhaps driven in part by the relatively weak position of the pound.

We’re expecting to see a shortage of experienced talent at the third-year analyst/ junior associate level as well as those with more difficult and hard to find sector experience such as pharma, insurance and real estate.


Glen Roberts is Director of the financial services division of Marks Sattin. The team recruits permanent accounting roles across the financial services and property sectors, from part–qualified through to chief financial officers and finance directors. Contact at [email protected]

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