Investment banking is one of the most competitive career fields, with thousands of university graduates seeking entry-level positions with the nation's most prestigious investment firms. In addition to being competitive, investment analysts often work long hours as they strive to advance their careers, reaching coveted positions such as vice president or managing director. However, the competition and gruelling hours have their rewards, as investment bankers earn high salaries.
The average salary for an investment banker depends on the person's job title, as well as her education and experience. Investment banks have a career advancement system in which most recent graduates start out as analysts. These positions involve much of the company's routine work, as well as extensive training. Successful analysts can advance to the position of associate. The next step is vice president, followed by managing director. As investment professionals advance up the career ladder, their salaries and annual bonuses increase.
The National Careers Service reports that investment analysts earn starting salaries that range from £25,000 to £30,000 a year, which does not include bonuses. Annual compensation varies with the size of the firm and the region of the country in which a person resides. Salaries are higher, for example, with large firms in major financial centres, such as London. Middle-ranking analysts earn between £50,000 and £70,000 a year, on average, and senior analysts can earn more than £100,000.
You will need at least a 2:1 in a degree specialising in economics, maths, statistics, business studies or accounting to qualify for a graduate entry programme with an investment bank. Competition for these positions is fierce and those who also have an MBA jump to the front of the queue.
Once you get an investment analyst trainee position, you will be expected to take courses to acquire the skills needed for the position. These exams will qualify you for membership of Chartered Financial Analysts Society by gaining an Investment Management Certificate; or membership of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments Institute (CISI) with a Certificate in Investments.
In the wake of the global financial crisis that began in 2008 and shook the world's financial systems, investment banking salaries and bonuses have been the objects of criticism from politicians. Despite this, many investment banks continue to offer generous bonuses. The Careers-in-Finance website reported that beginning bonuses represent 10 per cent to 50 per cent of a professional's annual salary. Later bonuses can be one to three times an annual salary, the website said.
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