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Old 14.01.2013, 17:39
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Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

Hi guys,

Just taking my initial steps in the forum.

I am a Brit living in the US with my wife and 3 kids. Postgrad degree in finance. 15+ QPE.

I am in the middle of a negotiation process for a specialist position with a premiere banking institution in GVA (local hiring). They want me to take charge of the investment banking division for the EMEA region.

A ballpark figure of what I guess could be my base salary should be in the CHF 200K/year (this is what I assume they would offer. Is this too little money for the role?).

Payroll taxes are not precisely low in GVA, I have notice. I have run some numbers and I expect to get a haircut of CHF32K/year between Income Taxes (19K/year) and SocSec (13K/year).

This would leave an after-tax salary of CHF168K.

I have been doing some research and I found that rent, food and school expenses for my family should take, at least, CHK130K/year, namely:

Rent CHF60,000/year
School CHF50,000/year
Food CHF20,000/year

So, this would leave me with CHF38K to support the rest of my expenses (I guess I will not be driving a Ferrari... ).

Anyway, could you please help me in finding out whether I might be able to get any of these perks? (I know it will depend on my negotiation skills, but I want to find out what is 'common practice' among these big banking institutions):

1) Company paying for the school of my kids?
2) Company paying for my family's health insurance?
3) Company paying for my social security deductions?
4) Company car? car insurance? car/fuel expenses?
5) 5 tickets/year to the US to visit my in-laws'?
6) Company paying for my mobile phone charges?
7) Bonus? Annual? Monthly?
8) Any other benefit I might not be aware of?

Thank you guys! I will really appreciate your help!!!
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Old 14.01.2013, 18:20
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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I am in the middle of a negotiation process for a specialist position with a premiere banking institution in GVA (local hiring). They want me to take charge of the investment banking division for the EMEA region.


1) Company paying for the school of my kids?
2) Company paying for my family's health insurance?
3) Company paying for my social security deductions?
4) Company car? car insurance? car/fuel expenses?
5) 5 tickets/year to the US to visit my in-laws'?
6) Company paying for my mobile phone charges?
7) Bonus? Annual? Monthly?
8) Any other benefit I might not be aware of?

Thank you guys! I will really appreciate your help!!!
If as you say you are being hired on a local contract rather than an expat contract you can only expect relocation expenses and none of the usual expat benefits that you list above
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Old 14.01.2013, 18:43
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

I don't know. They came to the US in search of someone like me...? Shouldn't I be offered an expat-like deal??
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Old 14.01.2013, 19:33
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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I don't know. They came to the US in search of someone like me...? Shouldn't I be offered an expat-like deal??
Probably not since they specified it was a local contract.

You could get transportation/car, phone, bonus (bi-annual/annual) included or part paid for as those are not unusual. Contribution to health insurance is less common but not unheard of.

Trips home and kids schooling will be a stretch.

The company pays already part of your social contributions. You'll have to take care of the rest.

You might be able to negotiate and extra week or two of vacation.

But to head up a the EMEA division of an investment bank, in Geneva, for 200K?? Sounds a bit low to me. Have you check the salary calculators? Anyone else think this is a bit low?
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Old 14.01.2013, 19:43
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Probably not since they specified it was a local contract.

You could get transportation/car, phone, bonus (bi-annual/annual) included or part paid for as those are not unusual. Contribution to health insurance is less common but not unheard of.

Trips home and kids schooling will be a stretch.

The company pays already part of your social contributions. You'll have to take care of the rest.

You might be able to negotiate and extra week or two of vacation.

But to head up a the EMEA division of an investment bank, in Geneva, for 200K?? Sounds a bit low to me. Have you check the salary calculators? Anyone else think this is a bit low?
More like the breadline in Geneva!
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Old 14.01.2013, 19:55
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

Rent is too high even for Geneva. You can get by with a rent of about 36k to 44k.
You forgot health insurance. It's not part of your salary usually. Consider a minimum of 400 CHF per adult and 100 CHF per child per month (basic standard insurance).
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Old 14.01.2013, 20:12
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

Thank you for the input guys!

Well, they actually did not say it was a "local hire" (nor did they say that it will be treated as a local hire), this is why I asked about these perks....

At any rate, yep CHF200K seems a little bit low to me but the job post indicated that amount.... I had in mind something more like CHF300K/year, but I don't know if they will increase the offer that much (from what the initial job post indicated...). Any thoughts? I am starting to believe that I might be better off staying in NYC....
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Old 14.01.2013, 21:03
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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Thank you for the input guys!

Well, they actually did not say it was a "local hire" (nor did they say that it will be treated as a local hire), this is why I asked about these perks....

At any rate, yep CHF200K seems a little bit low to me but the job post indicated that amount.... I had in mind something more like CHF300K/year, but I don't know if they will increase the offer that much (from what the initial job post indicated...). Any thoughts? I am starting to believe that I might be better off staying in NYC....
We moved to Zug from NY, bit different but I would say you need AT LEAST the same amount of money in Switzerland and probably more than NY to get by. I would definitely say $200k is WAY to low for that position. Its a good salary but not for such a senior role.

Some companies provide local hires with cars, insurance, fuel as part of company policy OR a cash amount (you may have the choice). Some companies pay for health insurance, some for schools. Rent can be paid but that is usually only for expat/ shorter term (2-3 year) assignments.

And I am guessing you are aware you will be responsible for US tax fillings and possibly US taxes? The higher the tax in Geneva the less likely the liability but definitely something to prepare for. Some companies will do tax equalization for US expats but generally they are being paid a US salary still.
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Old 14.01.2013, 21:13
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

It strikes me as odd that at a role that senior, you are even thinking about base salary....surely its only part of a larger package. Base salary - if you are really leading a division -- would normally be only 30% of the entire package. Is there more in terms of bonus, stock, LTIs, RSUs etc? I'd hope so

(I have to say though that the language you use is a little strange - maybe the role isn't what we are imagining. eg "leading a division" isn't a "specialist role", it's a leadership position. And "local hiring" is also a strange expression to use for a role leading EMEA - what, they say we need a person for a two continent role, but make sure you look no further than Rue du Rhone....)

Something isn't right...
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Old 14.01.2013, 22:40
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

It is what it is... I guess they wanted someone from the US, I couldn't tell really.

At any rate, the position is more of a head of the consulting/bizz development division within the investment banking business unit that the leading role of the investment banking business unit itself. My apologies for not being clear enough.

I am just trying to figure out what are my chances of living on my base salary and saving the rest of the package (whatever it could be on top of a 'bonus' BTW which are the standards about bonuses in GVA??), but I do not want to rely solely on my year-end bonuses/SOP/LTIs to compensate for my current expenses.

Thanks again guys!
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Old 14.01.2013, 23:04
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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Payroll taxes are not precisely low in GVA, I have notice. I have run some numbers and I expect to get a haircut of CHF32K/year between Income Taxes (19K/year) and SocSec (13K/year).
Just curious - how did you get an estimate of 32K tax liability?

When I run it through a couple calculators - 200K, married, 3 kids, no religion, living in GE - I get taxes of 68K to 76K, calculator dependent. That would be federal, cantonal and Gemeinde taxes.

I don't live in GE, so don't know if those figures are out of line or not. But those calculators come up with numbers for my canton/Gemeinde that are pretty close to what I actually pay.
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Old 14.01.2013, 23:11
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

You can get 150K working in McDonalds in Geneva, maybe you should ask for somezthing like 500K, or you could get your wife to work in McDonalds to top up your salary and get up to a level where you can at least afford the basics.
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Old 14.01.2013, 23:23
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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You can get 150K working in McDonalds in Geneva, maybe you should ask for somezthing like 500K, or you could get your wife to work in McDonalds to top up your salary and get up to a level where you can at least afford the basics.
It just about seems that being at least bilingual is a prerequisite for a job in McDonalds here. Is that also the case for heading an EMEA?

(It is very humbling living in a country where I am underqualified for McD's.
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Old 14.01.2013, 23:23
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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Just curious - how did you get an estimate of 32K tax liability?

When I run it through a couple calculators - 200K, married, 3 kids, no religion, living in GE - I get taxes of 68K to 76K, calculator dependent. That would be federal, cantonal and Gemeinde taxes.

I don't live in GE, so don't know if those figures are out of line or not. But those calculators come up with numbers for my canton/Gemeinde that are pretty close to what I actually pay.
I just claimed some nice deductions I am entitled to...
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Old 14.01.2013, 23:28
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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You can get 150K working in McDonalds in Geneva, maybe you should ask for somezthing like 500K, or you could get your wife to work in McDonalds to top up your salary and get up to a level where you can at least afford the basics.
Thanks, she's a mid-level associate at an accounting firm, I don't think she would like to hand over burgers OTC....

At any rate, there was a salary range posted in the original Job post, I seemed great to me till I found out about the huge difference between the cost of living in the US and GVA!!!
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Old 14.01.2013, 23:46
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

For a Director-level role at an investment bank in Geneva (especially with 15 years experience), 200K CHF is very low I must say. What other form of remuneration is included? 350-400K CHF base would be "more acceptable". In any event, I probably wouldn't be spewing all of this on this forum; such roles are not found very often and who knows if people in this Bank are reading this forum?

Keep in mind that Switzerland is outrageously expensive, and Geneva is at the very top compared to other Swiss cities (worse than Zurich if you combine rent and taxes). Will your wife be working? 200K CHF base is an awesome salary if you are single, but having to take care of a wife and 3 kids on that amount will be a struggle. Consider living in Vaud (neighboring Canton) for lower rent and taxes or, if you have an EU/EFTA Passport, France (depends how far away from the border).
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Old 14.01.2013, 23:54
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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For a Director-level role at an investment bank in Geneva (especially with 15 years experience), 200K CHF is very low I must say. What other form of remuneration is included? 350-400K CHF base would be "more acceptable". In any event, I probably wouldn't be spewing all of this on this forum; such roles are not found very often and who knows if people in this Bank are reading this forum?

Keep in mind that Switzerland is outrageously expensive, and Geneva is at the very top compared to other Swiss cities (worse than Zurich if you combine rent and taxes). Will your wife be working? 200K CHF base is an awesome salary if you are single, but having to take care of a wife and 3 kids on that amount will be a struggle. Consider living in Vaud (neighboring Canton) for lower rent and taxes or, if you have an EU/EFTA Passport, France (depends how far away from the border).
Thanks for the input! I am playing my chances, I really do not want to get toasted with my comp package...

She will not be working right away, but she might in the future....

I have learnt a lot about the cost of living (mostly about private schools and housing). It is outrageous....

Anyway, I have run the numbers with the ch.ch official tax calculator and it seems to me that Vaud (e.g. Nyon) is a nicer place than GVA, but taxes are higher (Vaud doesn't grant the deductions GVA does...).

My problem is that, based on my particulars and current expenses, I think I should be getting -at least- CHF300K + bonus + benefits (whatever 'benefit means') to be above the water level... but the job post mentioned CHF150K to CHF200K, what seems to me outrageously low considering GVA's cost of living....
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Old 15.01.2013, 00:03
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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200K CHF base is an awesome salary if you are single, but having to take care of a wife and 3 kids on that amount will be a struggle.
And it is stunning how many people actually manage it.....
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Old 15.01.2013, 00:45
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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... but the job post mentioned CHF150K to CHF200K, what seems to me outrageously low considering GVA's cost of living....
I suggest you check if the role you are applying for is at the right level. Such senior roles (300K++) are rarely posted with a salary band. If you would accept 150K-200K for this job in NYC there is no reason why GVA should be 300K. You have budgeted 130K for expenses in GVA, how much more is this Vs NYC to justify a 100K premium?
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Old 15.01.2013, 01:47
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Re: Help Wanted. Compensation Package. GVA

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I suggest you check if the role you are applying for is at the right level. Such senior roles (300K++) are rarely posted with a salary band. If you would accept 150K-200K for this job in NYC there is no reason why GVA should be 300K. You have budgeted 130K for expenses in GVA, how much more is this Vs NYC to justify a 100K premium?
It's not that hard. in NYC I make (overall) us$180K=CHF 250 in GVA @PPP.

If I move, I want -at least- a 30%/35% raise=CHF335K....

20K without moving an inch would be great, but crossing the Atlantinc with my entire family for a 5% raise... does not make much sense, does it???
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