Financial Services Back Office: The Pros & The Cons…by Barden

At Barden Financial Services we are experts in financial services careers. Through our experience of working with professionals, at all levels, and supporting leaders to create world-class financial services teams, we have gained invaluable insights into the world of FS.

One question we’re often asked is “what are the pros and cons of working in back office roles”. Here Kimberley Chan, Graduate Associate at Barden’s Financial Services practice, outlines a definition for each…


Non-client-facing/non-revenue-generating roles have many advantages including:

Lots of Career Opportunities: Often, it can be a great option to accept a Back Office role, especially if you have a long-term plan. The Irish Funds Institute’s publication of ‘Fund Facts’ for Ireland show, 145+ member companies in Ireland with 14,000+ funds being serviced with 16,000+ funds industry professionals looking after €4.7 trillion in assets under administration having €2.7 trillion in Irish domiciled funds. That means there’s lots career opportunities!

Options for Better Life Balance: You’ll have a better work life balance, you’ll get more time to pursue hobbies and interests outside of work, and, most importantly, you will have more time to network, learn new skills, or even pursue another degree. Obviously, this can vary depending on team, client, company etc but compared to some of the bigger accounting firms, front office firms and the big legal firms, if consistent deadlines and more predictable work is what you’re looking for than planning your life around your job can be an option.

It Can be Easier to Stand Out and Get Promoted: The competition in similar roles may or may not be as motivated as your peers in Professional services/legal/front-office roles. You can stand out more easily by automating simple processes or making tweaks to improve profitability. Having a commercial lens on tasks, while going the extra mile to ensure a ‘lean’ mentality will ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Remuneration Packages Can be Attractive: If you make it to the VP or Director or Managing Director level in a risk or support role at a large asset manager, administrator or investment bank, you can earn a significant base & bonus per year with most of the established brands in the market providing really attractive benefit packages as standard. It can take much longer to reach that compensation level within these support functions however, with dedication and consistency it is possible.

You Get a Solid Brand Name That Lets You Apply to Other Industries: Finally, if you accept a back-office role at a multi-national bank, you’ll instantly get a well-known brand name on your resume/CV. Some of the leading world investment banks and funds now have offices in various locations in Ireland. US Multinationals for example have a unique culture that can translate sectors e.g. Financial Institutions to Pharma. Knowing your variables is key to securing a switch. Ask us about our trademark Barden Career Model to help understand your variables better…


Non-client-facing/non-revenue-generating roles have some drawbacks also, including:

Lower Pay: Junior-level base salaries are a bit lower than those in client facing roles, with bonuses being significantly lower. A Front Office Analyst, might receive a bonus equal to 70-100% of his/her base salary in a good year (dependant of performance of funds) but it’s more like 5-10% of base salary in Back Office roles.

The bonus percentage climbs significantly only at the mid-to-senior levels (VP/Director/MD). It’s consistent pay, there’s many options in terms of switching to other administrators to try and improve your remuneration situation however in comparison to long term career, the pay can be competitive to a certain level.

Difficulty in Transitioning to Front-Office Roles or Elsewhere: Yes, you can do it, but it takes commitment and the transition can be difficult whether you’re at a large bank, a hedge administrator/fund, a private equity administrator/firm, or anything else. Knowing your own variable is key… Ask us about our trademark Barden Career Model to help understand your variables better…

Repetitive Work: Much of the process-related and day-to-day work can get repetitive, but this point may be a bit less true for certain roles now. Much of the Analyst/Associate workload also can be repetitive however ordinarily BA’s work through projects and can have more variety than a pure operations role.

Weighing It All Up…

It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of each opportunity, and choose the role that is right for you. There is no doubt that back-office roles and opportunities are growing, so it’s definitely one worth considering!


We’re the experts in financial services recruitment in Ireland: From our offices in Dublin and Cork we work on financial services jobs at all levels, partnering with FS talent and world-class FS teams nationally.  If you’re a financial services professional seeking opportunity or an FS leader looking to attract new talent, our experts can help. So get in touch with our team today on hello@barden.ieSimple.

At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to and we will take it from there. Easy.

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