A rule of thumb for judging how much you should be earning in a sales/trading role?

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This may be spurious, but as it's still early in the year and we're working our way back to optimum productivity, we thought we'd give it an airing and offer you the opportunity to agree, or not.

In the dying days of 2009, a reader left a comment on an article suggesting a simple way for evaluating success in a sales or trading role.

According to the anonymous reader, the rule of thumb is that if the number of years you've spent in the market, multiplied by 100,000 = your total compensation in US$, you're doing ok.

Is this rubbish?

Maybe, maybe not.

It probably doesn't work at the upper end, where a 20 year career is no guarantee of a ~1m annual payout.

"I've been doing this for 24 years," says Grant Ashton, managing director of trading house Infinity Capital Markets. "If this rule held true, I'd have retired by now."

However, Ashton says it's probably a more accurate reflection of compensation for strong performers over the first decade. 150k is a reasonable expectation after three years, for example.

Jason Kennedy, chief executive of recruiters Kennedy Associates, says there's a more simple method of working out if you're on track in a markets role. "Most people in the City make their money between the ages of around 28 and 32," he says. "If you're not making 700-800k by 28 you're not going to be making 2m a year in your early 30s."

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