At the height of the dot com boom in 2000, star analysts such as Mary Meeker, head of internet research at Morgan Stanley, reportedly received bonuses nearing $20m, and plenty of others received generous six figure packages.
Although recruiters say top rated analysts are still in line for multi-million dollar payouts today, there is little denying that research is not quite as lucrative as it once was.
In its pre-Christmas bonus report, search firm Armstrong International predicted managing directors in equity research would see pay 50% lower than in the 2000 boom, at between 450,000 and 750,000. More recently, one London search consultant reported that equity research bonuses were down 20% to 40% this year, compared to last.
However, one London search consultant, says the situation is as bad as all that, adding that most City-based equity analysts saw bonuses flat on last year. He says junior VPs with five years' experience in hot sectors such as financial services received salaries of 85,000, plus maximum bonuses of 300,000.
In New York, Richard G. Lipstein, a managing director at Boyden Executive Search, says similarly experienced equity analysts can expect to receive 'no less than' $300,000 to $400,000 in total compensation.
Pay is lower in continental Europe. According to Andreas Weik, a partner at Frankfurt search firm Hoffman & Heads, German equity analysts with five years' experience can command base salaries of between €60,000 and €180,000, plus bonuses of up to 70%.
In France, Vally Colli, a consultant at search firm Vendômes Associés, says pay for mid-ranking analysts ranges from €70,000 to €120,000, with bonuses in the range of 50% to 100%. Alberto Gavazzi, a consultant at Russell Reynolds in Milan, puts Italian pay in a similar bracket: he says local equity researchers can expect total packages in the region of €200,000.