July 30, 2009

The Financial Information Services Division of the Software and Information Industry Association and Lakefront Data Ventures today released a the results of a survey of 300 data managers in financial services and other industries; more than a third of the respondents are from sell-side (27%) and buy-side (13%) Wall Street firms. (More than half are management level, with vice-president, director or manager in their job title.)

Among buy-side data managers, average base salary is $120,226. Sell-side firms pay these surveyees an average of $138,698. These are among the lowest salaries — consultants/integrators, hedge funds and ratings agencies all pay higher base salaries to these managers. The highest base salaries, averaging $196,988, go to senior managers such as CDOs, CIOs and SVPs. Small firms with one to ten employees (mostly hedge funds, probably) pay far higher base salaries (average $172,826) than firms with more than a thousand employees, which average $133,592.

As one might expect, Wall Street-related firms are paying generous bonuses to data managers. Hedge funds pay 45.90% of compensation in bonuses on average, raising average total compensation for their data managers to $280,169. Ratings agencies pay an average 46.51% in bonuses, bringing total pay for data management jobs to $256,400. On the sell-side, broker/dealers and investment banks pay a relatively modest 38.14% in bonuses, bringing their average data-manager pay to $191,604. Buy-side firms pay 26.17% in bonuses, for an average total comp of $151,692.

The data-manager respondents were asked some questions about what they do in their jobs. More than half deal with real-time market data, 40% with reference data, about 37% with IT and development, 30% with exchange data and low latency and 27% with enterprise data issues. Asked about skills and knowledge areas, "market data" was identified most, by almost 70%, followed closely by "real-time data" and "reference data."

This entire pay scale seems extremely low compared to other reports of Wall Street pay. Either some of these respondents were not telling the whole truth or data managers are paid less than other professionals on the Street. (On the other hand, the pay scale was orders of magnitude higher than the one that exists in journalism, another form of data management.)

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