2023 HYH Wall Street Compensation Survey

Private Credit, High Yield, Private Equity and more compensation levels

2023 High Yield Harry Compensation Report:

Welcome back! Time for one of my favorite newsletter pieces - Wall Street compensation data!!!

Normally, my posts are gated (which means you must be a subscriber to view, aka all you need to give beehiiv is your email for free), but it’s important everyone who needs this resource can see it. This is one of the few pieces I leave for everyone to see – mainly because 1) I want everyone to get paid and have salary/bonus visibility and 2) I greatly appreciate the contributions from everyone who helped.

I also want to take this time to note that I am not the only FinMeme account running compensation surveys. I want to set the record straight that I did start the annual compensation reports trend for anyone keeping score at home, but this is a good thing. The more datasets we have – the better picture the community can get. No gatekeeping – let’s get everyone fucking paid.

I created this compensation survey completely anonymously, meaning I can’t see who submitted what. Additionally, this data isn’t going to anyone else, it’s being used solely to provide compensation transparency.

Thank you to the 644 people (511 Americans) who contributed to this survey. Without you, this isn’t possible.

Additionally, unlike other surveys, I did not poll on “what firm do you work at?”. I just think it’s way too easy for someone’s anonymity to be ruined if I do that. But if you want to try to understand firm-specific data this H-1B Visa data site is immensely helpful. You can see base compensation levels for anyone with an H-1B Visa. For example, I was able to search that a Credit AVP at Blackstone is making a $120k base salary and that an Apollo Associate is making a $150k base salary.

Some Notes before the data:

Each result has at least five datapoints, so if it wasn’t incorporated then I didn’t have enough datapoints.

For the sake of this compensation survey, I elected to leave out the carried interest part of the survey. This is just a messy area to try to build a range on given varying practices by firms, different fund sizes, the uncertainty related to when you can realize the carry, and the different types of deferred compensation structures by firms. Next year, I will figure out a better way to lay out what the street is seeing. The general trend I noticed (across buyside shops) is that carry goes to every VP and up (makes sense to align with the fund), the majority of senior associates have a form of carry, and some associates get a fractional bit of carry.

I didn’t have enough data for a ton of international comp data – I’m sorry guys, just not going to get enough data for every country and this is a US based account. The only international data that had more than 5 datapoints per item was some data for London. All US data is in USD, ofc.

Here’s the results. Only issue, is I hope the photos show up okay and apologies if they don’t. Respectfully, beehiiv (this newsletter platform) needs to work on getting photos/pics to show better on this app. It’s not as good as it would look on a deck, but hope it’s okay for you guys.

Private Equity: Let’s start with the PE bros. I was very kind to the PE bros (I’m your favorite lender right ladies & gents?) and split up PE data by 1) all of the US, 2) NYC PE, 3) Megafund PE, 4) Middle Market (MM) PE, 5) Lower Middle Market (LMM) PE, and 6) U.S. PE excluding NYC. I received 68 submissions from PE professionals. Results came in as expected with larger funds making more and NYC junior staff making more than other U.S. peers. See below.

U.S. Private Equity: 

NYC Private Equity: 

Megafund Private Equity: 

MM Private Equity: 

LMM Private Equity: A quick note. LMM Associates are getting paid more than Senior Associates in this datapoint because NYC professionals are getting paid more than non-NYC counterparts.

U.S. Private Equity excluding NYC: 

Leveraged Loans/High Yield: Next up - the performing credit gang. This is everyone at a CLO, buying high yield bonds, or financing broadly syndicated private equity deals. I included 1) a general look at how professionals across the U.S. are comped by title, 2) how professionals in NYC are comped by years of experience, and 3) how professionals in the U.S. (excluding NYC) are comped by years of experience. I figured it made sense to sort by years of experience given titles are a little weird in the HY space. Typically in public credit, you are either an “analyst” or “senior analyst” and that’s really it until the Portfolio Manager (PM) level. Unsurprisingly, NYC Credit Analysts are paid better than Analysts in other cities. I received 68 submissions from credit professionals. See below.

U.S. Leveraged Loans/High Yield: 

NYC Leveraged Loans/High Yield: 

U.S. (excluding NYC) Leveraged Loans/High Yield: 

Direct Lending/Private Credit: You guys went HAM. I received 171 submissions from direct lending professionals. Thank you Unstructured Capital for helping rally the troops. Accordingly, I diced up the data several ways. 1) U.S. Direct Lending, 2) NYC Direct Lending, 3) Chicago Direct Lending (lots of shops here), 4) Megafund Direct Lending, 5) MM Direct Lending, 6) LMM Direct Lending, and 7) U.S. Direct Lending excluding NYC and Chicago. The results showed that NYC professionals make the most and that larger strategies/funds make more as well. Please see below.

U.S. Direct Lending:

NYC Direct Lending:

Chicago Direct Lending:

Megafund Direct Lending:

MM Direct Lending:

LMM Direct Lending:

U.S. Direct Lending excluding NYC and Chicago:

U.S. Investment Banking: This is the part of the survey where the # of datapoints I received is lower than what I received for the previous three categories. It’s kinda inline with my thinking that my most focused followers are also on the buyside (vs. first year analysts/college students). It looks like hours have cooled off a bit given lower deal flow, but Bankers continue to work way longer than the rest of us. Anyways, see attached below. If you need more precise data I strongly recommend searching through H1B data for firm and city specific base salary data.

London: I am sorry to my English counterparts that we couldn’t gather more data. Here’s what I’ve got for direct lending and PE.

Credit Risk/Portfolio Management: This is for credit risk professionals at banks and for portfolio management staff at buyside shops. Data was pretty limited, but checks out. I recommend trying to pivot out of these types of seats into an investing role within the first 1-5 years of your career.

Hedge Fund Analysts: We’ve got some junior HF folks giving data. Comp checks out, but I was surprised by the *low* # of hours.

Sell-side equity research: Limited data here, but see below. Looks like analysts are still getting worked pretty hard.

S&T: Limited data here but all of the sentiment submissions sounded miserable…god speed. Still some $ going around though.

Asset Management: This section was meant as a spillover area for anyone who doesn’t fit any of the main credit/PE/banker buckets. Got a lot of junior data here which checks out.

Lastly - Real Estate Credit: Limited data here, but hopefully a helpful ballpark from a junior standpoint.

Additionally, I polled sentiment, letting people voice their thoughts on the current environment and what they think is going to play out.

My favorite quotes below:

Private Credit thoughts:

“Making money hand over first on pricing and fees but having to pitch progressively shittier deals to IC, or get more pushback on cyclicality”

“Everyone at school once told me I was an idiot for going into credit in favor of skipping banking. Very glad to have proved them all wrong”

“Hard to get anything through IC. Still some firms doing crazy stuff on the direct lending side.”

“Most attractive private credit market in over a decade. Trigger those MFN’s (no carve-outs)”

“Buy side comp eventually has to come back and be better than banking again. Sort of crazy how much these chump ass middle men are making. Also, not sure how PE firms plan to make returns across the fund work if borrowing costs remain high”

“Don’t fight the fed, otherwise lot of interesting cross capital structure long short trades. New deals are still getting done with terrible covenants, other than pricing, power still with PE and banks obv only care about them”

Bullish thoughts on the market:

“Mike Wilson is a huge bear but I’m a bull on the market. I think soft landing and inflation numbers come down quicker than expected. Not in IB but would imagine m&a has to be better than last year although still not great considering rates.”

“Q1’23 is surprisingly busy, we’re seeing more flow than this time last year and despite rising interest rates deals are still being priced high”

“A lot of opportunities still, even in this environment. Proprietary deal flow will be key in 2023.”

“LMM seeing deal flow regardless of rates”

“MM is chilling no layoffs, active hiring”

Seniors are getting increasingly frustrated with Juniors:

“Younger, entry level analysts need to put in more work. Stop logging off early and do more than the bare minimum (sometimes work quality is even less than). Have heard this across a handful of banks”

“Analyst classes getting softer. Too much emphasis on “protected” days where many think this is an entitlement. Deal flow still strong, at least at my shop, so can’t let off the gas pedal.”

“Tight labor market in past two years led to a lot of unqualified ppl getting roles/paid. Likely to reverse in 23/24”

“Slowly becoming less favorable for juniors again post covid”

Bearish thoughts:

“Expect deal flow to be slow through FY23. Depressed purchase prices and high interest rates will keep new deals down. Lots of covenant relief requests”

“Fundraising is really tough right now. The best firms will succeed but the average ones will underperform”

“Inflation seems sticky. Better lend at those floating rates when spreads widen again”

“It makes me very nervous. I’m mentally and financially prepared to be laid off anytime”

“Market is dried up and it will probably be like that till the end of 2023”

“Seems like the next 6 months could be more harsh given current climate”

“Scary place to be in right now if your firm hasn’t RIFed yet”

“Dogwater until inflation is at 2%”

Thanks again for the submissions guys.

I truly believe this is the most comprehensive set of data for private credit that’s out there. I hope you guys appreciate that I turned this comp survey pretty quickly. If there are further questions, DM on insta and I will answer if I can*

*I might not be able to answer a super granular question. Everything I included had at least five datapoints and if I didn’t include it then it means I didn’t have a ton of data.

Thank you again for your help in putting this together. Stay tuned for the next newsletter in late March.