Can you make a lot of money in finance?

How to Make Big Money in the Finance Industry

For a very long time, the financial services business has been seen as one of those fields in which a professional may flourish, climb the corporate ladder, and earn ever-increasing pay packages. Choices in careers such as these give experiences that are personally satisfying in addition to financial rewards:



Advisory services pertaining to transactions

Finance for corporations

However, there are three sectors within the realm of finance that provide the biggest chances to increase one's pure earning power and, as a result, attract the most rivalry for jobs:

Investment banking

The term "private equity"

Hedge funds

Continue reading to find out whether you have what it takes to be successful in these very profitable fields of finance and to discover how to make money in the finance industry.


Some of the highest-paying positions may be found in the financial sector and include corporate finance, accounting, and consulting.

Investment banking, private equity, and hedge funds are examples of sub-industries within the financial services sector that provide considerably higher compensation compared to other sub-industries.

Investment bankers provide their services for mergers and acquisitions (M&A), as well as initial public offerings (IPOs).

When it comes to private finance, private equity firms are engaged in activities such as investing funds and purchasing companies.

Hedge funds are investment vehicles that seek to outperform the market by allocating capital from affluent people according to alternative investment techniques.

The Field of Investment Banking

Potential for Financial Gain

Directors, principals, partners, and managing directors at bulge-bracket investment banks may earn more than a million dollars per year, and in some cases as much as tens of millions. At the director level and above, there is the obligation to oversee teams of analysts and colleagues in one of many departments. These departments are split down into product offerings, including equity and debt capital-raising and mergers and acquisitions (M&A), as well as sector coverage teams.

What is the secret behind the high salaries of top investment bankers? In a word (well, really three words), the enormity of the enormous transaction. Directors, principals, and partners head teams who work with high-priced products and receive large commissions as a result. This is possible since the bank's fees are often set as a percentage of the transaction that is being dealt with.

In the case of bulk bracket banks, for example, projects with modest deal sizes will be rejected. For instance, an investment bank may choose not to collaborate with a firm with annual sales of less than $250 million if the bank is already overburdened with other, larger agreements.

Investment banks are brokers. If a real estate agent earns a commission of 5 percent on the sale of a home that is sold for $500,000, then the agent will make $25,000 on the transaction. In contrast, an investment banking office sold a chemical manufacturing firm for $1 billion with a 1 percent commission, which amounted to a pleasant $10 million profit. The money was split between the investment banking office and the buyer.

It's not awful for a team consisting of just a few people, like two analysts, two associates, a vice president, a director, and a managing director, for example. You can see how the numbers stack up for this group's remuneration if they accomplish M&A deals totaling $1.8 billion in value over the course of the year and top bankers get incentives for their work.

Job Duties

The analyst (pre-MBA), associate (post-MBA), and vice-president levels are the testing grounds, and the number of hours worked each week may occasionally approach one hundred. The following responsibilities are prioritized by bankers working at the analyst, associate, and vice-president levels:

Writing pitchbooks

investigating the current trends in the business

Performing an in-depth analysis of a company's business, finances, and predictions

Running models

carrying out research and analysis, or coordinating with research and analysis teams

Directors are in charge of supervising these activities, and when significant milestones are achieved, they often communicate with the company's "C-level" executives. Partners and managing directors have a job that is more entrepreneurial in nature, and as such, they are tasked with the responsibility of focusing on client growth, deal production, as well as the expansion of the office and the hiring of new employees.

However, this timeline is contingent on several factors, including the firm involved, the individual's success at the job, and the firm's dictates. It is possible that it will take ten years to reach the director level (assuming two years as an analyst, two years to get an MBA, two years as an associate, and four years as a vice president); however, this timeline will vary depending on these factors. At other financial institutions, great bankers might be promoted even if they do not possess a master's degree in business administration (MBA).

Crucial Characteristics

The following are some of the criteria for success:

Technical skills

Capability of not missing deadlines.


Abilities in communication

Those who are unable to handle the pressure are eventually moved on, and there is a screening process that occurs before promotions to more senior positions. Those who are looking to leave the banking business have the option of making lateral movements into corporate finance, private equity, or hedge funds. Working for a Fortune 500 firm, for example, may result in a salary that is lower than what you were earning in banking.

Private Equity

Potential for Financial Gain

Principals and partners at private equity companies often surpass the threshold of one million dollars in annual remuneration, with partners frequently earning tens of millions of dollars annually on average. Given that their firms manage businesses with values in the billions of dollars, managing partners at the top private equity firms have the potential to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in annual compensation.

In the same way that their counterparts in investment banking manage high-priced things while earning high commissions, private equity firms manage high-priced items while earning very high fees. The overwhelming majority adhere to what is known as the "two-and-twenty rule," which stipulates that an annual management fee of 2 percent of the assets or capital handled and 20 percent of profits on the back end be charged.

Consider a private equity company that has $1 billion in assets under management; this firm's annual management fee would be equivalent to $20 million in order to cover labor costs, operational costs, transaction fees, and so on. The corporation then realizes a profit of $100 million from the sale of one of its portfolio companies, which it had first purchased for $100 million, and it collects another $20 million fee as a result of this transaction.

Given that a private equity business of this size will have no more than one or two dozen workers at most, it is a significant amount of money to distribute among such a small number of individuals. Senior private equity professionals will also have "skin in the game," which means that they are often investors in their own funds. Another way to say this is that they will have "investment exposure."

Job Duties

The process of creating new wealth often includes the participation of private equity. When a deal is finalized, investment bankers get the majority of their fees, but private equity investors have to go through various stages that might take several years and include the following steps:

Participating in roadshows with the objective of accumulating sources of investment funds

Obtaining a steady stream of business from investment banks, middlemen, and transaction professionals

Purchasing or investing in enterprises that are appealing and financially stable

Providing assistance to management in their attempts to expand the business via organic means as well as mergers and acquisitions

Harvesting the investment by realizing a gain from the sale of the portfolio business (typically between four and seven years for most firms)

Principals and partners are responsible for ensuring that each step of the process is completed successfully, while analysts, associates, and vice presidents are responsible for performing a variety of support responsibilities at each level. The degree to which principals and partners are involved in the day-to-day operations of the company varies from one company to the next; however, all of them hire the most talented individuals, both before and after they earn their MBA degrees, to work in the more junior positions, and they delegate the majority of their responsibilities.

The majority of the preliminary screening of potential investment opportunities can be handled by more junior members of the organization (associates and vice presidents are provided with a set of investment criteria to use in evaluating prospective deals), while more senior members of the organization participate in investment review meetings on a weekly basis, on average, to evaluate what the more junior members have produced.

The discussions between the company and the seller will be led by principals and partners of the business. After the purchase of the business, principals and partners are eligible for seats on the board of directors and are invited to participate in quarterly reviews alongside management (more frequently, if there are problems).

Lastly, the company's leaders and partners plan and cooperate with the investment committee on choices about divestment and harvest, and they devise strategies to achieve the highest possible profits for their investors. In the event that the private equity company is unsuccessful at a specific level, the principals and partners will often get more engaged in the efforts being made in that stage in order to shore them up.

For instance, in the event that there is a shortage of deal flow, the top members of the team will go on a road trip and visit investment banks. Senior private equity experts will interact with institutional investors and high-net-worth people on a personal level during fund-raising roadshows, as well as lead the presentations that will take place during such roadshows.

At the stage of deal-flow sourcing, principals and partners will step in and create rapport with intermediaries; this is particularly important in the case of a new contact and a relationship that is just beginning to form. If a portfolio business is not performing up to expectations, the owners and partners of the investment firm will be seen meeting with the company's management more regularly on-site.

Hedge Funds

Potential for Financial Gain

Hedge funds, much like their counterparts in the private equity industry, are responsible for the management of pools of cash with the goal of producing profitable returns for its investment customers. In most cases, institutional and high-net-worth investors contribute to the funding for this endeavor.

A compensation structure that is comparable to that of private equity allows hedge fund managers to earn tens of millions of dollars; hedge funds charge both an annual management fee (typically 2 percent of assets managed) and a performance fee. Private equity firms also use a compensation structure that is comparable to that of hedge funds (typically 20 percent of gross returns).

Job Duties

When compared to private equity firms, hedge funds often have smaller teams (presuming the amount of capital handled is comparable), and they have more latitude in determining how to deploy and invest the money belonging to their customers. On the front end, certain parameters might be specified about the sorts of strategies that these hedge fund managers are allowed to follow.

Hedge funds, on the other hand, can buy and sell financial securities with an investment horizon that is significantly shorter than that of private equity, which typically buys and sells companies within an investment horizon that ranges from four to seven years. Hedge funds can even sell securities on the public markets within days or hours of purchasing them.

Hedge fund managers are much more involved on a daily basis with their investments (as opposed to private equity principals and partners), closely following market and industry trends as well as geopolitical and economic developments around the world. This is because hedge fund investment horizons are much shorter than those of private equity principals and partners.

Hedge funds, which get a significant portion of their income from performance fees, are able to make investments (or trade) in almost any kind of financial asset, including stocks, bonds, currencies, futures, and options.

Which Is a Better Paycheck: Technology or Finance?

Starting wages in the technology industry and the financial sector are often on par with one another; but, in some professions, particularly those that are entry-level, the technology sector significantly outpays the finance sector. In more senior positions, such as a managing director, finance pays more than technology, especially in occupations that make a profit, such as trading and investment banking. Tech jobs, on the other hand, pay less. These top posts in technology do not pay the same as those in other fields. 

Which jobs in the financial sector need the most time commitment?

Investment bankers, in particular, put in the most hours of any other kind of financial worker. Since the responsibilities of investment banking jobs are not dependent on the functioning of the financial markets, work may be done even when the markets are closed. The tasks demand a substantial amount of evaluating, financial modeling, and pitching, all of which take a lot of time. Additionally, the occupations require a significant amount of time. Investment bankers often work on the weekends and may put in as much as 100 hours of labor per week when business is very busy.

Is the Compensation in Investment Banking Higher Than That of Private Equity?

When it comes to entry-level positions, investment banking does not provide a higher salary than private equity. Jobs in private equity often require candidates to have prior professional experience; hence, these positions are not always entry-level positions. Because so many investment bankers go on to work in private equity, pay in this industry are often greater than those in investment banking.

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