A career in finance and banking can be a rewarding one with plenty of opportunities to develop professionally as well as personally. However, there is no guarantee that you will earn what you want or need based on your qualifications alone.
Fortunately, if you’re looking for more information about where financial advisors tend to make the most money, this article will provide you some insight into which countries offer higher salaries than others.
In addition to exploring these top ten countries by average annual income, we’ve also included data from 2022 so that you have an idea of how much financial advisors earned in general. This way, you can use our findings along side other sources including Glassdoor reviews and LinkedIn profiles when researching potential careers. Here’s everything you should know before applying!
1. United States
Average Annual Income (2022): $165,000 per year
Highest Paying Cities: San Francisco ($198,000), Los Angeles ($176,000)
Lowest Paying Cities: Philadelphia ($105,000), Chicago ($108,000)
The US has become synonymous with high-paid executives, but people working in advisory services like investment management firms, asset managers, trust companies, insurance agencies, broker dealers, hedge funds, mutual fund families, accountancy firms, banks, brokerage houses, etc., actually earn significantly lower wages than their counterparts abroad.
The highest paying cities include:
San Francisco, Boston, New York City, Washington DC, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Toronto, London, Sydney, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Zurich, Oslo, Geneva, Dublin, Stockholm, Brussels, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, Munich, Milan, Copenhagen, Stuttgart, Berlin, Warsaw, Mumbai, Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai, Dubai, São Paulo, Johannesburg, Cairo, Doha, Jakarta, Lagos, Abu Dhabi, Kolkata, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Sofia, Belgrade, Bucharest, Tallinn, Vilnius, Nicosia, Ljubljana, Skopje, Algiers, Kiev, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Tel Aviv, Bern, Luxembourg, Budapest, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Caracas & Bangalore.
Average Annual Income (2021): $182,000 per year
Highest Paying Cities: Zürich ($199,000), Geneva ($174,000), Lugano ($148,000), Basel ($144,000).
While it may seem counterintuitive at first glance, many Americans who work in finance end up making less money than they would do elsewhere because Swiss labor laws mandate strict hours and limits on overtime compensation. As such, if you find yourself wanting to relocate to Switzerland, you’ll probably get paid substantially better than someone doing similar work back home. Additionally, those employed directly within private banking institutions often enjoy greater benefits than their colleagues elsewhere. For example, while employees usually only receive 9 weeks of vacation time, bankers can take two months off each year!
Average Annual Income (2022): $183,500 per year
Highest Paying Cities: Antwerp ($200,000), Liège ($187,500), Ghent ($169,750), Bruges ($161,250), Brussels ($146,250).
Although not quite as competitive in terms of pay as its neighbors across the border in both the Netherlands and France, Belgian workers still manage to pull down decent incomes despite being one of the smallest European economies. A prime reason why is due to the country’s strong economy, low unemployment rates, and highly educated workforce.
4. New Zealand
Average Annual Income (2022): $185,700 per year
Highest Paying Cities: Wellington ($195,300), Auckland ($173,400), Christchurch ($147,900), Dunedin ($139,800), Hamilton ($138,600), Tauranga ($137,100).
Like the UK, New Zealand offers exceptionally good job security, stable political systems, and relatively affordable housing costs compared to American standards. Furthermore, workers here don’t typically experience long commutes since the majority of businesses operate out of local offices. Although the cost of living may be slightly higher than other locations, Kiwis still save thousands annually on food, rent/mortgage, transportation, entertainment, clothing, utilities, taxes, etc.
Average Annual Income (2022): $188,000 per year
Highest Paying Cities: Calgary ($207,000), Vancouver ($186,000), Montreal ($177,000), Ottawa ($175,000), Edmonton ($170,000), Quebec City ($168,000).
With the exception of Ontario, Canadians generally live very comfortable lives, especially considering the exchange rate. While many expatriates struggle to survive during their initial years overseas, once they accrue enough savings, Canadian citizens rarely feel any financial pressure. Most importantly, however, workers here tend to enjoy excellent health care plans and generous retirement packages. In fact, the government provides free national public healthcare coverage until age 65 for all residents.
6. Hong Kong
Average Annual Income (2022): $192,000 per year
Highest Paying Cities: Central District ($212,000), Wan Chai ($189,000), Admiralty ($184,000), Midlevels ($180,000), Sheung Wan ($178,000).
Many financial professionals choose to settle in Asia specifically because of the region’s favorable tax structure.
Average Annual Income (2022): $196,000 per year
Highest Paying Cities: Münster ($203,000), Bonn ($181,000), Nuremberg ($179,000), Paderborn ($172,000), Hagen ($171,000), Essen ($166,000), Karlsruhe ($163,000), Duisberg ($162,000), Wiesbaden ($159,000).
German employers tend to demand high levels of expertise and professionalism from their staff members, and although jobs are plentiful throughout the nation, financial professionals stand above everyone else in terms of earning power.
Germans also benefit from great medical care and comprehensive pension programs. On average, retirees receive 70% of their peak earnings during their final five years of employment!
Average Annual Income (2022): €134,000 per year
Highest Paying Cities: Lyon ($152,000), Nice ($140,000), Marseille ($136,000), Strasbourg ($131,000), Montpellier ($126,000), Rennes ($125,000), Bordeaux ($122,000), Toulouse ($119,000), Aix en Provence ($118,000).
Similar to many countries listed above, French financial advisors tend to earn considerably less than their foreign peers. One possible explanation is due to the country’s rigid labor regulations regarding hours worked and overtime payments.
However, another important factor stems from the fact that many French financial advisors spend several years studying in specialized schools prior to becoming licensed. Because of this, they must complete additional training after graduation to remain certified.