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The Most Lucrative Portfolio Management Jobs in Asia

The largest mutual fund firms paid portfolio managers nearly $4 million in total average compensation last year, according to the first-annual All-Asia Buy-Side Compensation Report.

  • By Julie Segal

From All-Asia Buy-Side Compensation 2018 ranking

Portfolio managers in Asia may want to think hard about the size of their employers’ asset base.

Mutual fund managers at firms that oversaw $10 billion or greater earned an average of almost $1,330,000 as their base pay last year, and nearly $2,542,000 in variable compensation, according to Institutional Investor’s 2018 All-Asia Buy-Side Compensation Report.

But if they had been employed at a firm that oversaw less than $10 billion, their average total compensation would have been a tiny fraction of that figure. Equity portfolio managers at firms with between $5 billion and $10 billion in assets earned an average of $102,000 in base salary and bonus pay of almost $128,000.

It’s not a straight shot down. For firms that managed between $2.5 and $5 billion, pay crept up a bit: Portfolio managers earned more than $187,000 in base pay on average and another $252,000 in variable compensation.

[II Deep Dive: Here’s What Hedge Fund Managers Will Earn in 2017]

II’s first-annual Asian compensation study gathered data from 500 employees at Asia-based hedge funds, mutual funds, and investment advisory firms who reported their 2017 pay and what they expected to earn in variable compensation, including bonus, commissions, and options. Respondents also reported their expectations for their total compensation over the next two years.  

While Asian portfolio managers were the highest paid at the largest mutual fund firms, the research analysts with the largest paychecks worked for firms with between $2.5 billion and $5 billion in assets. At that size, a research analyst earned an average of about $123,000 in base pay and almost $139,000 in variable compensation. Analysts at the largest firms, meanwhile, had an average base salary of just under $97,000 and variable pay of $52,000. That’s on par with the smallest firms — those with less than $100 million in assets. Analysts at these small firms had total compensation packages of approximately $169,000 on average.

Size also mattered for portfolio managers at Asian investment advisory firms, though managers didn’t need to work for the largest companies to bring home the biggest paycheck. According to II’s compensation survey, firms with between $500 million and $2.5 billion in assets were the most generous with pay. The lion’s share of total pay for firms of this size came in the form of variable compensation. Portfolio managers at firms with assets between $500 million and $1 billion earned an average base salary of about $200,000, but their bonus pay added up to $1,860,000.

Meanwhile, investment advisory firms with assets between $1 billion and $2.5 billion paid an average of $288,000 in base salary and another $2,651,000 in variable compensation. The largest wealth managers — with assets over $10 billion — paid their portfolio managers a base of $329,000 and another $447,000 in variable compensation.

Research analysts’ paychecks, however, were clustered in a narrow band. For all firm sizes that the survey covered, base salary ranged from a low of $89,000 in base pay to a high of $134,000. Variable compensation ranged from an low of $54,000 to a high of $190,000. The highest total compensation for a research analyst at an investment advisory firm in Asia reached approximately $300,000. The firms handing out the largest paychecks had assets either in the range of $100 million to $300 million, or between $2.5 and $5 billion.

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