Credit derivatives employees reap the highest salaries

These are the findings of a first-of-its-kind survey conducted by City of London executive search company Napier Scott. The survey found that most managing directors working in credit derivatives at the top investment banks earn more than £1 million, with synthetic structurers commanding the highest salary levels. Asia-based staff earn 12–15% more than their US counterparts, with UK-based staff not far behind their Asia-based counterparts. Even credit derivatives associates with one or two years' experience earn in excess of £150,000 a year on average at a tier-1 bank.

But Napier Scott chief executive Shaun Springer, believes some salary levels may be too inflated. “The credit derivatives bandwagon gathered pace during 2002, with second- and third-tier banks struggling to fill a growing number of vacancies as the market continued to expand,” said Springer. “Although we see no sign of the pace slackening, my feeling is that a lot of institutions will now be realising that they may have spent unwisely in their race to gear up.”

Springer envisages 2003 as a year when banks will be more selective in their credit derivatives hires. But for staff with the right credentials, seven-figure packages will still be available.

He added that while credit default swaps trading is effectively commoditised there is still an excess of vacancies for specialists in exotics, structuring and synthetics.

Napier Scott interviewed an average of 40 candidates for each category it covered. Click here for a the full salary survey results.

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