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Where Does It Pay Most to Be a Hedge Fund Manager?

Spoiler alert: It’s not the United States.

It pays to work at a hedge fund in Asia, at least according to data collected through Institutional Investor’s brand new All-Asia Buy-Side Compensation report.

Portfolio managers at hedge funds in Asia earned an average of close to $1.1 million in total compensation last year, including almost $878,000 in bonuses, options, and commission. This makes Asian hedge fund managers some of the best paid in the world, out-earning peers in the U.S. and Europe.

Hedge fund managers in the United States took home just shy of $1 million in 2017, according to the All-America Buy Side Compensation Report published in November. Meanwhile, February’s All-Europe Buy-Side Compensation Report found that the average hedge fund portfolio manager in Europe earned $573,761 last year.

Roughly 500 portfolio managers and research analysts at hedge funds, investment advisory firms, and mutual funds in Asia responded to the latest compensation survey. They anonymously disclosed their 2017 base compensation and variable compensation, as well as what their expectations for compensation over the next two years. 

According to the report, the best-paid Asian portfolio managers were those at the smallest hedge funds. At hedge funds with less than $100 million under management, portfolio managers reported an average of nearly $203,000 in base compensation in 2017, plus bonus pay of $1.12 million. Roughly one third of these managers said they expected their total pay to increase by between 10 percent and 25 percent over the next two years.

As hedge funds grew larger, however, payouts shrunk. The worst-paid Asian portfolio managers in the study worked at hedge funds with between $500 million and $1 billion in assets. These hedge fund managers reported total compensation of just over $454,000, including about $297,000 in variable pay.

Research analysts for Asian hedge funds, meanwhile, took home under $99,000 on average as their base salary, and about $329,000 in bonuses – significantly less than their peers in America and Europe. In Europe, analysts reported an average total compensation of $365,620, including $142,943 in base pay. In the U.S., research analysts reported a total average income of $710,810, including $201,179 in salary.

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