2024 Wall Street Compensation Survey

Private Credit, High-Yield, Private Equity, and Investment Banking Compensation Results

Welcome back - it’s time for my annual compensation survey!

Normally my posts are gated for free subscribers only, but it’s important everyone who needs this resource can see it. I greatly appreciate the contributions from everyone who helped. This is an important way to provide salary and bonus transparency. After starting the first finmeme anonymous compensation survey a couple years back, it’s good that this has broadly caught steam among other accounts and that there’s a growing number of datasets out there.

Thank you to the 930 people who contributed to this survey. Without you, this isn’t possible.

If you want to try to understand firm specific data, then I recommend the H-1B Visa data site as an immensely helpful way to view base compensation levels for anyone with an H-1B Visa. Just search for a big shop or bank and you’ll certainly get some base level data.

Some Notes before the data:

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

Big changes from last year included 1) More details around carried interest bps allocated by PE funds 2) Breaking out “Opportunistic Credit” from “Performing Credit” 3) Adding a “75th Percentile” section for Comp and Hours. The only pushback from last year were some “this looks low” replies so adding 75th percentile data where available shows a closer look at what top performers may earn and how much longer some Associates are working than others. Secondly, as many of you are aware, deal flow isn’t great, so frankly these hours may be lower than historical times when M&A was robust.

I didn’t have enough data for international comp data – I’m sorry guys, I’m just not going to get enough data for every country and this is an U.S. based account. For London and Canada I had a lot of instances where there were only 4 submissions per segment, which frankly just isn’t enough to draw conclusions from.

Lastly, these charts should read fine on a web browser, but if you’re on mobile you probably want to move your phone sideways.

Here’s the results:

Direct Lending: Let’s start with the golden age. I received 202 submissions from U.S. direct lending professionals. Thank you to Unstructured Capital for helping rally participation. Overall, the solid comp among private credit professionals reinforces all the golden age memes. I sliced the data up several ways: 1) The U.S., 2) NYC, 3) The U.S. excluding NYC, 4) the lower middle market (LMM), 5) the middle market (MM), and 6) the Upper Middle Market (UMM)/Megafunds. The results showed that NYC professionals make the most and that larger strategies/funds make more; which I guess shouldn’t be a surprise.

Please see below.

U.S. Direct Lending:

NYC Direct Lending:

U.S. Direct Lending excluding NYC:

LMM Direct Lending:

MM Direct Lending:

UMM/MegaFund Direct Lending:

Before we get into Performing Credit, I have a report to share from our Sponsor:

A Message from CreditSights:

High yield spreads are flirting with historic lows. Spreads in the investment grade market are narrowing as well; they could revisit the tights of 2021 or even 2005. Just how tight can these spreads go?

CreditSights' veteran strategists help answer this pressing question in two new reports. Our team analyzes previous all-time tights in the HY and IG markets, compares previous cycles to current market conditions, and assesses the likelihood of revisiting historic lows. Get your free copy of our IG and HY “Tightening Trends” reports > 

Performing Credit: I received over 100 submissions from U.S. leveraged loan and high-yield professionals. This is everyone at a CLO, buying high-yield bonds, or financing broadly syndicated private equity deals. However, I broke opportunistic credit into a different section in order to best separate two different strategies. I included 1) a general analysis across the U.S., 2) comp in NYC, and 3) comp in the U.S. (excluding NYC). Sorting by years of experience makes the most sense in the space given a lot of funds designate you as “Analyst” or “Senior Analyst” and that’s it until the Portfolio Manager (PM) level. See below.

U.S. Leveraged Loans/High Yield: 

NYC Leveraged Loans/High Yield: 

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

Opportunistic Credit/Distressed: I received 35 submissions from U.S. opportunistic professionals. Given the dislocations in credit in ‘23, Opps had a nice 2023.

Before we move to Private Equity, I want to talk about HYH Premium - the premium side of my newsletter. Within HYH Premium, I include a vault of the resources and framework I used to go from a Non-Target school to a career in Credit. This of course can be applicable for Private Credit, Public Credit, and other buyside roles. I also include detailed lists of firms in specific markets; with lists on Miami, Texas, and the Carolinas posted so far. The amount of people leveraging my resources have been a lot higher than I initially anticipated. I’m continuing to add very detailed career and city oriented pieces throughout the next few months, so I’m going to make a price update to the Annual Plan in April. If you’re looking to sign up at a reduced entry point, this month (Not Black Friday or Cyber Monday) is the best time to do so. It definitely makes my day knowing people are landing credit seats from reading my resources, so happy to play a small part in that process.

Private Equity: We had 87 submissions from U.S. PE professionals. I split up PE data by 1) all of the U.S., 2) NYC PE, 3) Megafund PE, 4) Middle Market (MM) PE, 5) Lower Middle Market (LMM) PE, and 6) U.S. PE excluding NYC.

The big difference this year is I decided to collect carried interest data. I asked for how much carry (as bps) you were allocated per fund, plus what the size of your fund was. This was enough to make some high level observations across PE shops. The general trend I noticed (across buyside shops) is that carry goes to every Senior Associate and up (which makes sense to align with the fund).

Within NYC, there was some carry at smaller funds for Associates and seemed around a ~75bps fund ballpark. In terms of Senior Associate carry, we found ~20-35bps of carry for larger funds and 75-200bps for smaller funds. Meanwhile VPs saw anywhere from 10-20bps for a megafund and 500-100bps for large funds.

Outside of NYC, Some LMM ASOs were sharp enough to grab carry (as you should, it's higher risk), but the vast don't get carry. Meanwhile, Senior Associates saw 100-200bps depending on fund size. For VPs, we saw 35-40bps for a massive fund and 150-225bps for a middle sized fund. Note, it seems like more carry is being allocated to non-NYC folks, primarily due to attracting labor and given fund size.

Note, PE comp includes Base levels + Cash Bonuses. Carry is not a part of the charts below.

U.S. Private Equity: (Analyst comp looks low because it’s non-NYC, entry level positions). Normally PE positions start at the Associate level.

NYC Private Equity: 

U.S. Private Equity excluding NYC: 

LMM Private Equity: Note, the Sr. ASO numbers are up against a tougher ASO comparable due to the Sr. ASO #s coming from non-NYC markets.

MM Private Equity: 

Megafund Private Equity: 

Investment Banking: We had 143 submissions from U.S. IB professionals. Note, hours are down from 2020/2021 levels due to lower deal flow, but Analysts are still cranking out 80+ hour weeks on the high end. Meanwhile, bonuses are in the gutter relative to the crazy hours. If you need more precise IB base data I strongly recommend searching through H1B data for firm and city specific base salary data.

Investment Banking (U.S.): 


IB U.S. (excluding NYC):

Notes related to other groups:

Real Estate Debt: We had several submissions at the Associate level and found the avg. base to be $115k, an avg. bonus of $61k (TC of $176k), with median comp at $195k. The average workweek is 57 hours/week with a median experience of 5 years. This included professionals in NYC and CA.

The Sell-Side: In a surprising twist, I didn’t get enough data on SS Credit Research and SS Equity Research, with some limited data on the S&T side of the house. This is definitely surprising, but I’m not sure if headcount is quite what it used to be. Using several datapoints, S&T (Trading) Associates saw an average base of $141k and an average bonus of $103k.

Asset Management: I had this semi vague section for finance professionals who don’t fit any of the traditional buckets. Within this I found Analysts, (which mainly comprises of non-NYC professionals) that have a median experience of 2 years make an avg. of $106k/year, Associates with a median experience of 4 years make an avg. of $237k/year (this stat is semi elevated due to having a higher NYC weighting), Senior Associates with a median experience of 6 years make an avg. of $203k/year, and VPs with a median experience of 8 years make an avg. of $243k/year.

Banking Credit Risk: The Avg. Analyst has a ~$86k base and ~$11k bonus, with better paid analysts getting a $100k+ base and slightly better bonuses. Not to worry though, average comp at the Senior Analyst/Associate level improves to ~$117k base and ~$40k bonuses.

Direct Lending Portfolio Management was a niche that didn’t get enough responses, and presumably the Equity HF guys were too busy to contribute as well 😢 

With all this, let’s get into the sentiment of respondents among different asset classes. I found this section to be really amusing and a really good boots on the ground sentiment check.


Here were some of my favorite responses on the current vibes by segment:

Private Equity:

“Higher rates / underperformance make exits difficult. Yet LPs want cash returned”

“Capital has to be deployed but huge disconnect between seller and buyer valuations. Everyone is cranking to get something done but doesn’t feel like we’re getting anywhere”

“Extremely challenged and juniors are graduating less and less capable every year”

“Stagnant/minimal activity outside of the LMM, but expecting flow to improve into 2024”

Megafund investor: “IC is scared and won’t approve investments, no promotions, general uneasy feeling at the lower levels”

Private Credit:

“Things are good but would move to owl rock if they’d have me”

“Best work life balance ever due to slowdown in buyouts and increase in rates”

“Concerning that we priced a sub $25MM EBITDA business at BSL levels”

“Spreads coming down and perhaps the “golden age” of private credit is winding down, but the asset class is here to stay - not a bubble as some are speculating. Love the work you do Harry - your content has made its way around the bullpen and we appreciate you 🫡”

“Sponsor friendly / “risk on” environment / spreads chased down due to limited M&A volume demand and increasing supply”

“Fewer and fewer new deals hitting PC. More deals going the syndicated route. As dry powder has increased, appetite for deployment is sky high and any decent deal gets gobbled up by big boys (Bx, Ares, etc.) who win on price since they have so much $$$ they need to put to work”

“Good for nonbank ABL like us”

“Limited carnage so far is surprising. Deal flow will probably pick up but some sectors are waiting for the other shoe to drop”

“Concerned direct lending is becoming increasingly commoditized”

“Well spreads are tightening aggressively but increasing regulation on banks means PC ain’t goin anywhere anytime soon. On an hourly basis there is no better comp than PC on wall street in my opinion (other than maybe Citadel lmao but you’re not sleeping there)”

“Private Credit getting really aggressive in order to deploy and compete with BSL. Higher leverage, tighter spreads, worse docs — imo bad risk return at top of market ($100mm+ ebitda)”

Public Credit and Opportunistic Credit:

“Great credit investing environment, but Private Credit keeps taking our deals. New deal flow sucks but lots of good opportunities to buy harrier names in low 90’s and mid 80’s”

“Q4’23 earnings & mgmt guidance sound similar to Q4’22 in my sectors (mostly basics). Thinking the positive sentiment for 2H’24 improvement is more so a function of easy y/y comps than visibility on stronger demand. Skeptical of a soft landing & rate cuts this year. Credit spreads don’t care though”

“Meh, kind of frustrating with repricing which means going down risk spectrum to find yield“

“Heard a boss recently say - When asset managers have no other value to offer, they compete on fees. And a sinking tide lowers all ships”

“Good start to 2024 for LL/HY/CLO issuance although am worried it won’t last if/when the macro finally starts to crack”

“Volatile, everyone is playing the game of wait and see with rates. Credit about to return when Fed shaves ~100-200 bps over the next year or two”

“Pockets of opportunity; new wave of LME games has changed conventional investment strategy on opportunistic side”

“Lot of pure play CLO people and funds that aren’t massive will continue to get run over given lack of resources and scale, which means won’t be on steerco and can’t hire best talent. I think shorting credit remains hard, lot of the opportunistic plays in companies that aren’t broken have rallied a lot since Q4, but still opportunities if you are comfortable being involved post new deal”

“Distressed tough. Everything except garbage ripped year end 2023 and garbage trades where it does for a reason”

“Spreads are tight, PC taking share, covenants suck, creditor on creditor crime. So everything is great, thanks for asking”

Investment Banking:

“Becoming less lucrative but pay is still good. Harder to attract good talent away from tech/PE, harder to find good, motivated young talent, and tougher to compete against non-regulated private credit/PE/hedge funds”

“Barclays zeroed 200 bankers”

“Low morale, lots of pitching, and bad bonuses”

“Lot of deal flow, but sellers are still expecting 2021/22 multiples and buyers aren’t willing to pay nearly as much which has led to some good companies’ deals stalling out”

Thanks again for the submissions guys.

I truly believe this is the most comprehensive set of data for private credit that’s out there. While I highlighted that I can’t really answer areas with not enough datapoints, I can try to answer any further questions.

Be on the lookout for my next Monday newsletter - it’s a guest interview piece that you’re going to love…

Until then,