Finance Pros Are Going Nuts Over A New Database That Lets Them Compare Their Compensation Anonymously

This morning SumZero,a networking site for financial professionals, launched a new service — a compensation database where members can submit their pay and compare it to others submitted to the site.

As you can imagine, in a matter of minutes the service, SZ Compensation, was going completely nuts.

It’s not hard to see why — who doesn’t like a little “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours?” especially in an industry as secretive about pay as finance. In 30 minutes, SumZero members (who are all vetted buy-side professionals at private equity firms, hedge funds and mutual funds) had already sent in over 100 submissions.

“We knew going in that there aren’t many subject matters in the hedge fund industry that generate more natural curiosity than personal income and yet are more relevant to our members from a professional development stand-point,” said SumZero Senior Vice President, Nicholas Kapur. “If we’re truly committed to helping our members grow as professionals over the long term, we absolutely had to address compensation…. Of course, it’s a bit taboo as a subject matter goes, so it needs to be handled appropriately. But the bottom line is that the information is important, there’s high natural interest, and it has high application value.”

You have to be a member of SumZero to submit, and you have to submit to see other submissions. Once that’s out of the way though, you can imagine how valuable this information is. It includes a member’s title, length of employment, salary (obviously), fund type, bonus, and location.

There are services that do this already, but they charge thousands of dollars for this kind of information. On SumZero it’s all free, and that means it’s disruptive.

Now — a quick rundown of what we’ve learned from the submissions so far.

In three hours there were 145 submissions from Hedge Funds, 45 from Mutual Funds, and 30 from Private Equity Funds.

All Group Total Comp Stats:

Minimum compensation: $US75,000

Maximum compensation: $US2.15mm

Median compensation: $US264,000

“The most valuable aspect about this new tool is both the broad, directional statistics you can absorb as well as the very granular detail you can search and filter for,” said Kapur. “You can get broad statistics on how much people are making at private equity funds in London or you can search for all the energy analysts working at $US500mm to $US1 billion hedge funds in NYC with 5-10 years of experience who get a certain percentage of the carried interest and who get to market their track records. Then, you can drill down and learn a whole lot more about each analyst’s comp structure. It’s extremely flexible.”

You hear that everyone? Now go forth and find out what you’re all worth.

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