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Bringing home the bacon: who earns the most in financial services?

Who is making the most cash in financial services? Following a survey of advisers, paraplanners, brokers and consultants across the UK, recruitment and training consultancy BWD has revealed who made the most - and who made the least - over the past two years. Click here to see how much your peers are bringing home...

Total earnings 2012

Employee benefits consultants (EBCs) brought home the most bacon last year, with the average salary at £87,096. This was up on earnings in 2011, just shy of £80,000. Snapping at their heels were broker consultants, with an average salary of just under £70,000, which was slightly under the average earned in 2011.

In third place and a little way behind were financial advisers. Employed advisers fared better than self-employed, receiving an average of £62,838 in 2012. The self-employed lagged behind with £60,533.

Paraplanners earned around the same as admin and support staff, with admin just slightly tipping the scales.

Total earnings 2011

EBCs were doing just as well in 2011, with a tighter gap between the salaries of broker consultants than we saw in 2012. Employed advisers, while earning more that year (mid-£60,000s) were still behind. Self-employed advisers however, fared better in 2012, something that BWD says could be down to redundancies seen in the advice sector and a move towards working alone...

Employed versus self-employed

Of advisers surveyed, the basic salary of the employed in 2012 was £46,337, lower than that of the self-employed which was £60,533. Benefits including bonuses brought the average total earnings for the employed to £62,838. Overall, employed salaries have taken a knock while self-employed salaries are on the up.

BWD said redundancies and the ensuing competitive market had led to more advisers opting for self-employed positions with networks or IFA firms. 'Whilst some advisers have left the industry a small number saw this as an opportunity to break away into self employed advice, using their redundancy packages as a financial cushion,' it said.


The average salary in 2012 for a paraplanner was £28,585, up from the previous year. This was only slightly higher than the basic salary brought home by…

…Sales support/administrators

Sales support earned an average of £27,456 last year, up on totals from 2011. Bonuses also appeared to be significantly higher here. This could be down to admin staff being encouraged to 'upskill' in order to meet the increasing demand for paraplanners, BWD said. But while admin and paraplanning might look fairly neck and neck now, the introduction of specific paraplanning qualifications should see the two groups separate once more, the census predicted.

Broker consultants

Despite more humble earnings than EBCs, broker consultants still did pretty well. Total earnings including bonuses in 2012 were at £69,359, lower than they earned in 2011. Notably though, basic salaries were actually higher last year, so the overall reduction was most probably down to restructuring of businesses under RDR changes, BWD said. Brokers were mostly optimistic anyway, with 66% predicting earnings to rise in 2013.

Employee Benefit Consultants

Wiping the floor in the lead up to the RDR as well as the steady march towards auto-enrolment, this group is raking it in. While the average basic was £54,116 in 2012 – not drastically different from that earned by an employed IFA - the bonuses earned set EBCs ahead by a clear margin. Average bonuses were set at £32,979. Overall, EBCs fared better in 2012 than in 2011, and were up by almost 10%.

BWD said: ‘2013 is expected to be a busy year for recruitment in employee benefits. The BWD Census shows the attraction of operating in this sector and we can expect clients to focus even more on seeking and securing the right quality of candidate in this dynamic area of the market.’