Investment banks hike salaries for in-house lawyers

A number of City investment banks have raised salaries for in-house lawyers to offset precipitous falls in bonus payouts.

While bonuses had been slashed across the board, several banks have tried to limit the damage for back-office staff. UBS, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have all increased wages for in-house lawyers, research by search agency Sheffield Haworth has revealed.

At UBS, legal salaries have been increased by up to 20 per cent, while the bonus pool paid to all staff has shrunk by 80 per cent.

Sheffield Haworth headhunter Shami Iqbal said: “Pre-crisis, a lawyer at a City investment bank would have expected to get between 40 and 80 per cent of salary as a bonus. Now it’s 25 to 50 per cent.”

Wages at investment banks range from £60,000 to £90,000 for entry level lawyers to £150,000 to £200,000 for managing directors.

One in-house solicitor at a major investment bank saw his salary increase from £105,000 to £130,000, however the end of year bonus more than halved from £90,000 to £40,000.

Other banks have introduced new bonus structures that reward high performers, while slashing rates for the majority of employees.

Citigroup has divided lawyers into three performance groups, with bonuses for the top third falling 10 to 30 per cent – the middle third down 30 per cent and the bottom third down by 50 per cent.

Royal Bank of Scotland rated staff one to five, with only those scoring four or more getting a payout.