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Anyone work in JPM/GS/Morgan Stanley back office before?

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-2021, 05:01 PM
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The term "Middle Office" in BBs is a functional/team thing -> Strictly, it refers to the team that supports trading desks by booking trades, either on the street side or client side.

In other words, it is a matter of nomenclature for that one team. But as long as you do not generate revenue or bring in clients, you are "not FO". The traders/sales/bankers don't see a difference in MO/BO, neither does the company nor the employees in "MO/BO". The distinguishment doesn't make sense, especially in an investment bank, because you have scenarios where what you call as "traditional" BO teams, speaking to FO/clients, and what you call "MO" teams, that don't.
Fair point. Would just like to point out that there is actually a slight distinction not just in terms of title, but also salary and prospects for MO via-a-vis BO. Think about roles like risk, client services and trade support as opposed to settlements/clearing, technology, compliance and HR.

Not a great difference in pay (pretty minimal), but still noticeable. It is also more likely (although still low) for MO folks to lateral to FO as they are closer to the revenue generating side of the business as compared to those in BO (which are typically situated outside the country or CBD).

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Old 27-05-2021, 06:21 PM
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Fair point. Would just like to point out that there is actually a slight distinction not just in terms of title, but also salary and prospects for MO via-a-vis BO. Think about roles like risk, client services and trade support as opposed to settlements/clearing, technology, compliance and HR.

Not a great difference in pay (pretty minimal), but still noticeable. It is also more likely (although still low) for MO folks to lateral to FO as they are closer to the revenue generating side of the business as compared to those in BO (which are typically situated outside the country or CBD).
Unfortunately, not necessarily true on both counts as well (at least in the context of BB investment banks, can't say for commercial or local banks). The lateral to FO happens in all BO/MO, as long as you can show the FO interviewers within the group you know what they are about. It's "easier" only if you're exposed to what they are doing: A clearing, client onboarding or technology person can just as well go into FO (Have seen a lot of cases), because they knew how desk pnl worked, how trades would be cleared (a very important point for high frequency trading/prime brokerage clients) etc. You can build connections with the desk to increase your chances; and as per mentioned, some BO like technology / client onboarding talk to FO a lot more than your vanilla trade support roles.

Salary wise, again, I didn't see any noticeable difference on both sides. Neither did my colleagues. I was sometimes lower in your "MO", sometimes higher in "BO". Can't say I know fully how compensation is attributed across teams, but pretty sure they don't give a bigger pie to MO over BO, simply because in these BBs, the bosses do not really care.

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Old 03-06-2021, 04:54 PM
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Unfortunately, not necessarily true on both counts as well (at least in the context of BB investment banks, can't say for commercial or local banks). The lateral to FO happens in all BO/MO, as long as you can show the FO interviewers within the group you know what they are about. It's "easier" only if you're exposed to what they are doing: A clearing, client onboarding or technology person can just as well go into FO (Have seen a lot of cases), because they knew how desk pnl worked, how trades would be cleared (a very important point for high frequency trading/prime brokerage clients) etc. You can build connections with the desk to increase your chances; and as per mentioned, some BO like technology / client onboarding talk to FO a lot more than your vanilla trade support roles.

Salary wise, again, I didn't see any noticeable difference on both sides. Neither did my colleagues. I was sometimes lower in your "MO", sometimes higher in "BO". Can't say I know fully how compensation is attributed across teams, but pretty sure they don't give a bigger pie to MO over BO, simply because in these BBs, the bosses do not really care.
Care to share your YOE and comp?

Anyway Iím not sure which BB you are in, but most BBs here have their BO situated outside of CBD and tbf only MO roles like risk and trade support are actually on the same floor/building as the FO folks.

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Old 03-06-2021, 09:38 PM
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Care to share your YOE and comp?

Anyway Iím not sure which BB you are in, but most BBs here have their BO situated outside of CBD and tbf only MO roles like risk and trade support are actually on the same floor/building as the FO folks.
5 coming 6 YOE. Comp is slightly >100k, excluding bonuses. The narrowest definition of BB usually refers to GS/JPM/MS because of their investment banking capabilities, and I am working/have worked at some of these.

GS has 2 offices: One Raffles Link and Mapletree Anson (both in CBD)
JPM has 2 offices: Capital Towers (CBD) and [email protected] (Changi Business Park)
MS has 1 office: Capital Square (CBD)

Agree, *only a small handful* MOs sit with the desk, not all. Reason being, the trading desks in Singapore are way smaller compared to that in HK (In all 3 banks, their APAC headquarters is HK, and not Singapore). Hence we are in a situation where most of the FO are in HK, yet most of the MO/BO are in SG.

----
Just a funfact: trading desk risk can be both an FO or MO/BO function (ie they get FO pay or BO/MO pay respectively). And as previously mentioned, trade support need not sit with the sales/traders to do their jobs, and banks realize this. In large investment banks with many product offerings, it makes more sense to put 2 different trading desks together rather than an FO+MO combination. Reason being, their trading business is so mature, such that 1 good way of capturing more revenues from existing clients, is to offer cross-asset/product solutions (hence need for multiple desks working together)
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:56 PM
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5 coming 6 YOE. Comp is slightly >100k, excluding bonuses. The narrowest definition of BB usually refers to GS/JPM/MS because of their investment banking capabilities, and I am working/have worked at some of these.

GS has 2 offices: One Raffles Link and Mapletree Anson (both in CBD)
JPM has 2 offices: Capital Towers (CBD) and [email protected] (Changi Business Park)
MS has 1 office: Capital Square (CBD)

Agree, *only a small handful* MOs sit with the desk, not all. Reason being, the trading desks in Singapore are way smaller compared to that in HK (In all 3 banks, their APAC headquarters is HK, and not Singapore). Hence we are in a situation where most of the FO are in HK, yet most of the MO/BO are in SG.

----
Just a funfact: trading desk risk can be both an FO or MO/BO function (ie they get FO pay or BO/MO pay respectively). And as previously mentioned, trade support need not sit with the sales/traders to do their jobs, and banks realize this. In large investment banks with many product offerings, it makes more sense to put 2 different trading desks together rather than an FO+MO combination. Reason being, their trading business is so mature, such that 1 good way of capturing more revenues from existing clients, is to offer cross-asset/product solutions (hence need for multiple desks working together)
Thatís not bad at all. Are you verging on VP? Am curious to know the average bonuses at some of these BBs as well if you donít mind sharing!
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:16 PM
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Thatís not bad at all. Are you verging on VP? Am curious to know the average bonuses at some of these BBs as well if you donít mind sharing!
Sure. The concept of AWS does not exist for a lot of American companies, including the banks as mentioned in this conversation. Can't say for everyone, but from an MO/BO perspective, I *feel* (based on experience and asking my colleagues) bonuses are more of a absolute number rather than as a % of your salary (at least at the junior level). For analysts and associates, it tends to hover around 10-15k for average performers; lower for poor performers (all the way till 0), higher for poor performers (20-25k).

Not a VP yet (hoping to get it in the coming year or next), hence can't provide much info for that. VP/ED salaries have a larger salary band as compared to the junior level, so I'd imagine the bonus range to be wider; probably 20k upwards. "% of bonus" probably becomes a larger factor as well; can't imagine a very senior VP to be only getting 10-15k. He would be pissed lol
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:18 PM
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Sure. The concept of AWS does not exist for a lot of American companies, including the banks as mentioned in this conversation. Can't say for everyone, but from an MO/BO perspective, I *feel* (based on experience and asking my colleagues) bonuses are more of a absolute number rather than as a % of your salary (at least at the junior level). For analysts and associates, it tends to hover around 10-15k for average performers; lower for poor performers (all the way till 0), higher for poor performers (20-25k).

Not a VP yet (hoping to get it in the coming year or next), hence can't provide much info for that. VP/ED salaries have a larger salary band as compared to the junior level, so I'd imagine the bonus range to be wider; probably 20k upwards. "% of bonus" probably becomes a larger factor as well; can't imagine a very senior VP to be only getting 10-15k. He would be pissed lol
Sorry, I meant "higher for top performers", and "% of salary".
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:16 PM
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Sure. The concept of AWS does not exist for a lot of American companies, including the banks as mentioned in this conversation. Can't say for everyone, but from an MO/BO perspective, I *feel* (based on experience and asking my colleagues) bonuses are more of a absolute number rather than as a % of your salary (at least at the junior level). For analysts and associates, it tends to hover around 10-15k for average performers; lower for poor performers (all the way till 0), higher for poor performers (20-25k).

Not a VP yet (hoping to get it in the coming year or next), hence can't provide much info for that. VP/ED salaries have a larger salary band as compared to the junior level, so I'd imagine the bonus range to be wider; probably 20k upwards. "% of bonus" probably becomes a larger factor as well; can't imagine a very senior VP to be only getting 10-15k. He would be pissed lol
Thanks for sharing! Would be joining MO in a BB myself soon.

Just curious, how are the working hours and consequently WLB like? Am I at a disadvantage if I donít join the MO/BO graduate program as a fresh grad?
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:37 PM
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Thanks for sharing! Would be joining MO in a BB myself soon.

Just curious, how are the working hours and consequently WLB like? Am I at a disadvantage if I donít join the MO/BO graduate program as a fresh grad?
All the best in your new role. A different thread asked a similar question, comparing WLB across these 3 banks, and I replied to it. In short, within this 3, GS generally pays the best for MO/BO, and also has the worst WLB (personal experience and from colleagues who've worked across them). You may have heard of the 100-hour week survey that GS investment banking juniors complained about. MO/BO don't do 100 hours, but the mentality and culture is the same even in BO/MO. People on average do 11-12 hours per day in MO/BO.

If you're joining JPM/MS, your salary trajectory will probably be slightly slower, but your hours will be lesser as well.

No disadvantage to being an experienced hire, or joining from another company. This 3 banks don't have "MA" programmes or "scholars" like others where you are supposedly fast-tracked. Yes they do have some specialist programmes for people in specific roles, like finance or technology etc, but it has no impact on your future salary/career progression.
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:49 PM
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All the best in your new role. A different thread asked a similar question, comparing WLB across these 3 banks, and I replied to it. In short, within this 3, GS generally pays the best for MO/BO, and also has the worst WLB (personal experience and from colleagues who've worked across them). You may have heard of the 100-hour week survey that GS investment banking juniors complained about. MO/BO don't do 100 hours, but the mentality and culture is the same even in BO/MO. People on average do 11-12 hours per day in MO/BO.

If you're joining JPM/MS, your salary trajectory will probably be slightly slower, but your hours will be lesser as well.

No disadvantage to being an experienced hire, or joining from another company. This 3 banks don't have "MA" programmes or "scholars" like others where you are supposedly fast-tracked. Yes they do have some specialist programmes for people in specific roles, like finance or technology etc, but it has no impact on your future salary/career progression.
12 hours for MO is pretty crazy. Correct me if Iím wrong, donít these graduate programs place them into associate roles after 2 years or so?

Thanks for the spontaneous replies by the way!
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