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Best Paying Jobs in Major Banks

Last updated 03/19/2024 by

Benjamin Locke

Edited by

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Banks offer some of the most lucrative and interesting positions in the job market. For those looking to enter the banking industry, salaries for traders and analysts start around $50,000. As you work your way up to the director level, compensation packages can increase substantially. Experienced traders, private bankers, and chief financial officers can make well into six figures, with the CEOs of top banks making millions.
Movies about Wall Street may give people the impression that trading happens only on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, which is littered with papers and people yelling. Nowadays, though, banking has become both more sophisticated and digitized. Generous salaries typically accompany jobs in the banking and finance industry. As people move up to the director level, the compensation can seem incredible.
For those looking to work in the banking industry, a role as an equity or options trader can give you real-life experience in live price action, including how and when to buy and sell. As people move up the chain, director-level positions, such as chief finical officer, can be difficult to obtain but pay handsomely. The highest-level directors in the banking industry will be paid with a mix of salary, bonuses, and equity. Although working in this high-powered industry can be stressful and time-consuming, it can also be extremely rewarding from a financial perspective.

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Best paying jobs in major banks

These are some of the highest-paying jobs in the banking industry, along with their average annual salaries.
Job title2021 average salary
Financial analyst$50,000 – $105,000
Equity trader$60,000 – $150,000
Options trader$65,000 – $185,000
Private banker$45,000 – $166,000
Risk management analyst$59,000 – $112,000
Financial examiner$46,000 – $102,000
Commodities trader$55,000 – $156,000
Quantitative trader$116,000 – $406,000
Credit analyst$43,000 – $93,000
Chief financial officer$200,000 – $650,000
Forex trader$66,000 – $200,000
Investment banker$95,000 – $276,000
Internal auditor$45,000 – $86,000
Chief executive officer$605,000 – $1,030,000
Below, we explain more about each job that you might want to consider before you submit your resume.

Financial Analyst

Salary: $50,000 – $105,000
A financial analyst is responsible for analyzing various pieces of data related to the behavior of the market. They should understand historical market trends and recommend trading strategies.
A good financial analyst will have a solid understanding of various capital structures, including the more unusual ones. A financial analyst should be able to use both Excel spreadsheets to model financial structures seamlessly and PowerPoint presentations to summarize the ideas.

Equity trader

Salary: $60,000 – $150,000
Equity traders for major banks are the people who buy and sell shares on the stock market on behalf of the bank or its clients. They must first have a good understanding of the fundamentals behind the stock and then be able to place trades at the right time in the market. Equity analysts need to understand market behavior better than anyone else and take advantage of swings in the market that your novice trader might not notice.

Options trader

Salary: $65,000 – $185,000
Understanding how to write, structure, and trade options are the responsibility of the options trader. Options traders are particularly useful if a bank goes big on an equity trade and then wants to partially hedge with a series of options trades. Because of this, options traders need to understand risk calculation to a T. A good options and derivatives trader in the financial industry is always in demand, and the job can pay well.
Looking to start trading yourself to give yourself some practice before an interview in the banking industry? Here are some brokerages to consider.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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Private banker

Salary: $45,000 – $166,000
A private banker is someone who helps high-net-worth clients by managing their money and offering them (or structuring) their different products. For example, HSBC’s Private Client Division has various private bankers working for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients around the world. As these types of clients are important for a bank to retain, the job requires significant financial knowledge and the ability to form a good rapport with people.

Risk management analyst

Salary: $59,000 – $112,000
A risk management analyst needs to be able to fully understand what could go wrong with a trade. They will model out all of the possible upsides and downsides of a trade and calculate risk. The job will entail them working with an options trader to structure products that might hedge against the downside of a large trade.
A risk management analyst needs to understand the minute details and numbers involved in every possible trade and the subsequent possible downsides. They work with other analysts, such as fixed income analysts, to complete a big picture of the trade before it’s executed.

Financial examiner

Salary: $46,000 – $102,000
A financial examiner can be a high-paying job at a bank because they ultimately protect the bank from getting fined. They must have a clear-cut understanding of the rules set by the entity that governs the bank. Knowledge of anything and everything related to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s requirements and regulations is a must. A financial examiner must also make sure the bank’s activities aren’t violating any international sanctions. Otherwise, the bank could face substantial fines.

Commodities trader

Salary: $55,000 – $156,000
Commodities traders can work for large commodities companies, such as Louis Dreyfus or Cargill, but they can also be some of the highest-paying jobs at banks. Commodities traders trade both commodities like precious metals and their various derivatives. A good commodities trader working for a bank will be able to carry out trades in the name of the bank’s overall investment thesis.
For instance, if a bank’s investment thesis is that the price of oil will go down, a commodities trader will trade various futures and derivatives that will allow the bank to make a profit if the price of oil goes down.

Quantitative trader

Salary: $116,000 – $406,000
Quantitative traders, or “quants” as they are often referred to in the banking industry, are people who carry out trades using extreme analysis and technology. Usually, they are involved in high-frequency trading, which most major investment banks now employ.
A quantitative trader should have an understanding of both trading concepts as well as the code and algorithms involved in high-frequency and digital trading. Given the expertise required, quants make some of the largest salaries in the industry.

Pro Tip

If you can code and want to get involved in banking and finance, then you will need to know the most commonly used programming languages. Currently, C++ and Java are the most commonly used languages in quant trading. For banks, a person with no knowledge of finance but who is a world-class C++ or Java programmer is incredibly valuable.

Credit analyst

Salary: $43,000 – $93,000
The traditional way that banks make money is to charge interest on the money they lend out. A good credit analyst will be extremely familiar with accounting and be able to detect abnormalities in financial statements.
Similar to the way a forensic accountant works in tandem with law enforcement, a credit analyst makes sure that all Is are dotted and all Ts crossed before they recommend that the bank issue credit. Credit analysts are required in both traditional financial institutions as well as investment banks.

Chief financial officer (CFO)

Salary: $200,000 – $650,000
The chief finical officer is the person behind all the money flowing in and out of the bank. They supervise the entire finance unit and are generally the chief spokesperson as well. They direct the trading strategies of the bank as well as the overall trading philosophy that the bank employs.
A chief financial officer is responsible for maximizing the institution’s profits and return on investments. A chief financial officer is considered one of the top positions in a bank and thus is one of the best-paid positions.

Forex trader

Salary: $66,000 – $200,000
Foreign exchange can be an important tool that a bank can use to make money. Being able to spot discrepancies in the market value of a currency versus the intrinsic value is a skill required to be a forex trader. A good understanding of politics and regulation on an international level can also be important.
For example, the GBP (or British pound sterling) took one of its largest dives ever compared to the U.S. dollar right after the Brexit vote. A forex trader who shorted the pounds would have stood to make a lot of money for the bank.

Investment banker

Salary: $95,000 – $276,000
An investment banker is one of the most well-known positions at major banks, and an investment banker’s role is to effectively help corporations raise capital. They facilitate large and complicated transactions.
For example, if a company plans to go from private to public, the company will hire a bank, and lead investment bankers will take charge of putting the deal together. They will make sure that they have the bank’s clients lined up for taking significant portions of equity on an IPO.

Internal auditor

Salary: $45,000 – $86,000
An internal auditor looks at the effectiveness and efficiency of a bank’s finances and operations. The audits are typically financial, compliance, operational, and systems oriented. An internal auditor must understand both the data gathered from the bank’s operations as well as how all of the parts of the bank fit together. An internal auditor is constantly looking for errors within the finances of a bank to see how its operating system might be improved.

Chief executive officer (CEO)

Salary: $605,000 – $1,030,000
The CEO of a bank is basically the face of the bank. They manage the entire macro strategy of the bank as well as interact with the bank’s most important shareholders. To become CEO of a major investment bank is to have one of the most lucrative jobs in the world. Not only do CEOs get paid a handsome base salary, but the majority of their compensation is also paid through a combination of bonuses and equity.
Becoming the CEO of a major bank takes a long time and requires many skills. One must be exceptional at finance and also be able to navigate the politics involved in the upper echelons of banking.

CEO salaries at major banks

These are some of the highest-paid CEOs in the banking industry, based on their 2021 compensation packages:
  • Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase: $34.5 million
  • James Gorman of Morgan Stanley: $35 million
  • David Solomon of Goldman Sachs: $35 million


Which banking career is best?

The best banking career is one that suits the aptitudes and interests of the candidate. A private banker can be a great job for those who love to communicate with high-profile clients. A risk management analyst might be a good fit for people who are constantly analyzing situations and looking for downsides. If you’re starting your career, you might consider a job as a trader or financial analyst.

What is the lowest position in a bank?

Bank tellers are the lowest-ranking positions in a retail bank. That being said, good tellers can move up the chain of command quickly if they have the right skills.

How do you move up in banking?

Moving up in banking requires two skills. The first is that you are profitable and/or valuable to the bank. The second is that you can navigate the politics of the bank. Sometimes navigating politics can be even more important than how well you actually perform.

How can I grow in my banking career?

You can start by taking an entry-level job, such as an analyst job, and working your way up. As banking jobs have notoriously long hours and huge workloads, one of the major skills at that level is to be resilient. The director-level positions at the bank will respect the time that you put in, as they once put that time in themselves.

What should I study for a bank job?

The best subjects to study are finance, economics, business, and accounting. However, major banks now employ people with a variety of degrees, particularly in the sciences. A degree in particle physics might give you mathematical insights into trades that an economics major won’t have.

Key Takeaways

  • Jobs in personal banking and investment banking can be difficult but very lucrative, with salaries ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 or more.
  • There are various roles in banking, from financial analyst to CFO to CEO. Each role has different requirements and different compensation packages.
  • Entry-level jobs, such as an options trader or equity trader, will give you first-hand experience in price action in the financial markets. Analyst jobs will give you experience crunching numbers.
  • Working your way up to CEO of a bank is extremely difficult to do, but a bank CEO is one of the highest-paying jobs in the world. The CEOs of major banks make around $35 million a year in their compensation packages.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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