If you want to make a packet in project finance, investment banks are the places to do it.
Brian Drum, managing director of Drum Associates, a US search firm, says a project financier working for a bank in the US can earn a base salary of between $100,000 and $150,000. Bonuses start at 30% of base, he says, with investment banks paying their mid-ranking project financiers an additional 100% or more.
Pay is similarly wide-ranging in the UK, with salaries at the five-year point ranging from 55,000 to 100,000 depending upon the nature of the bank, and bonuses extending from 20% at commercial banks to 100% or more in the investment banking sector.
In continental Europe, Italian and German project financiers are better remunerated than their colleagues in France. Maurizia Villa, managing partner at Heidrick & Struggles in Milan, says Italian project financiers with five years' experience can expect a base salary of between €120,000 and €250,000, plus a bonus of 100%.
Jürgen Merkel, managing director of MB Consulting in Frankfurt, says German salaries range from €100,000 to €150,000, plus a maximum 200% bonus.
By comparison, Jean Turcat, a consultant at Robert Walters in Paris, says that after five years French project financiers can command a paltry €60,000 salary and €15,000 bonus.