Adjusting for quality of life, where is the best paying city for bankers?

We have examined 2014/2013 salary and bonus data from 915 bankers working in Sales, Research, Trading and Origination/ Advisory at VP level in London, Paris, New York, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich and Dubai.


  • Before tax and living expenses, London is neck and neck with New York and Hong Kong as the highest paying while Paris & Frankfurt bankers received the lowest proportion of total compensation.

  • When adjusting for tax and living expenses, Hong Kong and Dubai top the charts: respectively 20% and 17% ahead of London in terms of disposable income, these locations benefit from low/non-existent income tax rates as well as buyoant banking sectors, and no regulation when it comes to bonus caps.

  • Even though Zurich and London show a large gap in total revenue, quality of life is similar in both cities: Zurich is only 5% behind London in terms of disposable income.

This study raises the very valid question of lifestyle: is it worth fighting it out in cities where daily life demands large financial resources, and therefore tend to involve long commutes, and a stressful environment, in favour of more laid-back cities such as Zurich, considering quality of life and saving capacity is so similar?

CityAvailable Income*% vs London
Hong Kong93,00020%
New York87,00013%

*Available Income: Income after tax and living expenses

Source: Median figures

Accounting Career Guide

Source: Median figures and indexes


Emolument provides bonus and salary statistics based on data submitted directly by professionals like you. It is free, anonymous, and already a trusted tool for thousands of professionals worldwide. Are you paid enough? Click here to find out now.

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