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Old 12.10.2015, 14:52
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Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

Hello,

I am in the process of interviewing for a front office senior credit research position at one of UBS/CS in the Zurich office. The position is looking for someone with at least 5 years of fixed income/credit research experience. The level would most likely equate to Vice President or Assistant Director level from what I understand.

I am currently based in London and doing the same role, albeit on the buy-side, for £85k plus a bonus that ranges anywhere from 0% to 100% of this depending on the performance of the fund. At my interview today, in the London office by video conference, myself and the HR lady began discussing compensation. I suggested that to maintain my standard of living in Zurich I would be looking for 2x my salary in £, so basically 2x £85k for CHF170k. Her reaction was one of shock and she seemed to suggest that most people relocating from London to Zurich would look for the same salary, i.e. I would go from £85k to CHF85k.

From my research and from looking at this forum it looks like they are trying to get me on the cheap. Anyone out there who has experience in this field? Am I right to use a 2x multiple for the cost of living adjustment? I know bot banks are trying to cut costs and this might be a bad sign.

To summarise, I am not prepared to go to Zurich and have a lower quality of life. Am I correct in my thinking that I would be much worse off on CHF85K in Zurich compared with £85k in London?

Thanks for your helps!
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Old 12.10.2015, 15:01
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

I am sure that you have misunderstood her. She is likely suggesting that you transfer for the same salary rather than the same numerical value of CHF as your GBP salary. This would equate to ca 125kCHF.

CoL between London and Zürich is not wildly different but luxuries are disproportionately expensive. See countless other threads for lots of detail.

I'm not up to date with banking salaries but this looks below market rate to me.
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Old 12.10.2015, 15:03
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

you would be better off staying in London thats a good salary there (london generally pays much better in financial services). you would get lower here and have less spending power. 170chf is too much for that kind of role and shows lack of research
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Old 12.10.2015, 15:06
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

Short answer is youre asking for too much.

The standard salary in front office in banking is about 120k, assuming this is a permanent position?
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Old 12.10.2015, 15:10
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

85k CHF is a graduate level salary and if we're talking finance, graduates can touch 6 figues.

With what you're bringing and from what I've seen from friends etc, I'd agree with the people above and say that ~120k seems right.

170k is too much to be a base.
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Old 12.10.2015, 15:19
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

I agree with others.. Probably it would be the UK numbers translated to CHF, +/-. Also, the bonus scheme is much lower in Switzerland.. For this level of position, I doubt that they would give up to 100%, even with good performance numbers
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Old 12.10.2015, 15:43
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

Thanks for the replies, much appreciated. Earlier in the year I interviewed for a junior credit analyst position at a fund in Geneva and they were offering CHF150-160K for a junior (1 to 2 years' experience) position. I didn't get that position as they wanted someone more junior than myself. I was using that as a base for my current salary expectations.

Looking at the current FX rate I guess I should be looking for CHF125-130K. I guess what I need to do is do a cost analysis of my current expenses and see if I can create a similar existence on CHF130K in Zurich.

I'm not concerned with the lack of big bonuses in Zurich as I would be using all of my bonuses in London to pay for private school fees and if I moved to Zurich I would plan on sending my daughter (she's almost 2) to local state schools. I live a relatively modest life here in London and don't like eating out in fancy restaurants (unless clients are paying) or downing bottles of expensive wine but I do live in a nice apartment and the cost of child care seems expensive even compared with London. Small luxuries for me would be a season ticket to the local hockey team (Zurich Lions I guess or maybe Zug if I decide to live there) and skiing in the winter.
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Old 12.10.2015, 15:50
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

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I live a relatively modest life here in London and don't like eating out in fancy restaurants (unless clients are paying) or downing bottles of expensive wine but I do live in a nice apartment and the cost of child care seems expensive even compared with London.

What difference does it make who's paying ?
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Old 12.10.2015, 16:05
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

To help set expectations realistically:

One hears of Switzerland's high salaries and yes, it's true that for lower and mid level jobs salaries are often higher in Switzerland than for similar positions elsewhere. But what is not mentioned is that higher salaries do not necessarily translate across all levels.

At more senior levels the reverse is often the case - senior positions in Switzerland often pay less than similar positions elsewhere, especially in finance, especially compared to NY and London, especially in positions where bonus is a significant part of total comp.
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Old 12.10.2015, 16:12
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

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Hello,

I am in the process of interviewing for a front office senior credit research position at one of UBS/CS in the Zurich office. The position is looking for someone with at least 5 years of fixed income/credit research experience. The level would most likely equate to Vice President or Assistant Director level from what I understand.
I once heard 120k for Associate level, but it was some time ago...

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I am currently based in London and doing the same role, albeit on the buy-side, for £85k plus a bonus that ranges anywhere from 0% to 100% of this depending on the performance of the fund. At my interview today, in the London office by video conference, myself and the HR lady began discussing compensation. I suggested that to maintain my standard of living in Zurich I would be looking for 2x my salary in £, so basically 2x £85k for CHF170k. Her reaction was one of shock and she seemed to suggest that most people relocating from London to Zurich would look for the same salary, i.e. I would go from £85k to CHF85k.
You should have gone better prepared for the interview... If you work in finance, stating "2x my salary" out of nowhere sounds amateurish, no? Still, I guess CHF170k is not far from reality, so you are a good guesser. Anyway, you definitively misunderstood her because CHF85k is a ridiculous salary for such role and experience.

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To summarise, I am not prepared to go to Zurich and have a lower quality of life. Am I correct in my thinking that I would be much worse off on CHF85K in Zurich compared with £85k in London?

Thanks for your helps!
Yes.
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Old 12.10.2015, 16:15
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

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Still, I guess CHF170k is not far from reality, so you are a good guesser.
Depending on the role, VP front office, 160k plus 50-150% bonus wouldn't be unheard of if the person was doing a good job.
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Old 12.10.2015, 16:21
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

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What difference does it make who's paying ?
I would never waste my own money eating at a Michelin star restaurant but would happily go to one if the bill was being picked up by someone else, as is typically the case here in London where banks take their buy-side clients out to dinner on a regular basis.
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Old 12.10.2015, 16:27
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

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I once heard 120k for Associate level, but it was some time ago...



You should have gone better prepared for the interview... If you work in finance, stating "2x my salary" out of nowhere sounds amateurish, no? Still, I guess CHF170k is not far from reality, so you are a good guesser. Anyway, you definitively misunderstood her because CHF85k is a ridiculous salary for such role and experience.



Yes.
Thanks for your reply. I didn't just take the 2x number out nowhere I saw it used numerous times on this forum by experienced forum members. Given that these positions don't come up that often in Switzerland it's hard to find comparable jobs to predict the right level of salary to ask for. In any event I now know that the 2x level is probably not correct despite it being used a lot on this forum as a basic rule of thumb.
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Old 12.10.2015, 17:07
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

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I would never waste my own money eating at a Michelin star restaurant but would happily go to one if the bill was being picked up by someone else, as is typically the case here in London where banks take their buy-side clients out to dinner on a regular basis.

This is why you are only worth Chf 85k, you are cheap
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Old 12.10.2015, 22:26
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

Assuming you applied for an investment banking role or similar CHF 170k would be possible at VP level but would most likely include the bonus.

Otherwise, most VP level jobs in finance would be around the CHF 120k mark.

Overall, cost of living is similar to LDN. Don't forget that your taxes will be lower so whatever may look more expensive right now will probably offset in your full calculation.

I've considered offers to go to LDN so have done the calculations the other way around
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Old 12.10.2015, 22:47
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

To be honest, I would really expect for you to have done your homework other than this forum. For such a position you're expected to be able to form and share (with your peers, and at AD/VP level you will be a junior) an opinion on the forecast of world economics. Then to agree on your approach and act on it in the form of an investment strategy within your competencies. The salary range will of course also depend on the complexity of the portfolio.
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Old 12.10.2015, 23:18
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

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To be honest, I would really expect for you to have done your homework other than this forum. For such a position you're expected to be able to form and share (with your peers, and at AD/VP level you will be a junior) an opinion on the forecast of world economics. Then to agree on your approach and act on it in the form of an investment strategy within your competencies. The salary range will of course also depend on the complexity of the portfolio.
Unless of course you base your investment strategies on the advice given in this forum - then you should be looking for at least a Managing Director (MD) position and the respective salary, or above.
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Old 13.10.2015, 00:13
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

I guess 2x is not a bad rule of thumb for the EF standard 120k salary. But it may not apply for salaries a standard deviation away. remember also that in 2008, just translating your salary would have been a 2x change.

Then:

170/2 = 85

Now:

170/1.5 = 113

Also, at higher salaries, the tax savings also start to add up.

also, higher salaries up to a point are pretty much useless since there's nothing for you to spend your money on until you get to stupid levels of money.

tl;dr: the higher your salary, the lower the multiple required (offset by lower taxes).
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Old 13.10.2015, 11:58
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

Thanks again for your replies, much appreciated. Having taken a quick look at the average exchange rate over the past 20 years, which has roughly been 2:1, I can see where the 2x rule of thumb has come from.
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Old 13.10.2015, 12:14
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Re: Front office salaries at UBS/CS?

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Assuming you applied for an investment banking role or similar CHF 170k would be possible at VP level but would most likely include the bonus.

Otherwise, most VP level jobs in finance would be around the CHF 120k mark.
No it's not. 120k VP level is for operations back office or IT jobs. He said it's for a front office position at fixed income/credit research.
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