Mutual fund portfolio managers are taking home fatter paychecks this year, as solid gains in the stock and bond market in the past two years have helped boost median pay, according to a survey by the CFA Institute and the executive-search firm, Russell Reynolds Associates.

The median pay for fund managers, which includes salary and bonus, is $390,000, up 34% from $291,252 two years ago, according to the study. Overall median total compensation for U.S.-based professionals in 2005 has risen by 17% since 2003. While this growth is significant, overall compensation is 7% off from its 2001 peak.

The study also found that the gap in compensation between hedge fund and mutual fund managers has narrowed, even as hedge fund managers earn 47% more than the overall median compensation.

The findings come at a time when regulators are putting in place new rules requiring fuller disclosure of mutual fund manager pay.

"The compensation findings are consistent with the growing demand for senior investment professionals that we have seen in our business over the past two years," said Debra Brown, a managing director in the Investment Management practice of Russell Reynolds.

The median U.S. stock-fund managers' pay is $460,000, up 48% from two years ago, but down from the $481,500 peak in 2001. But it is investment professionals responsible for operational, international and fixed-income functions whose compensation figures are shooting up rapidly.

Chief Operating/Administrative Officers, in particular, saw their median compensation increase by 60%, from $200,000 in 2003 to $320,500 in 2005-- the greatest single increase among all job categories.

As in 2001, fixed-income professionals continued to outpace and out-earn their equity peers. Portfolio managers and securities analysts responsible for global fixed income realized earnings increase of 44% and 37%, respectively.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.