What is the state of the SA market?

Helen Davies

Helen Davies

We sampled data for about 500 supervisory analysts around the world. We were interested in the distribution of ages, where SAs were based and what type of firm they worked for.

More specifically, we wanted to know whether young SAs were coming up (we suspected not), whether lots of SAs were due to retire in the next five years (we thought so) and if there was a shift towards SAs being based in Asia (jury was out).

Are young SAs coming up through the ranks?
Of course this all depends on your definition of “young”…but if we look at the chart below, the answer is no. There are no 20 year olds and very few 30 year olds. There is a big bulge of 40 year olds and the rest, around 40%, are over 50.

Chart: Age distribution of supervisory analysts worldwide

Are lots of SAs about to retire?
Again, the answer is no. If we take retirement age as 65, then only about 10% of SAs are due to retire in the next five years. The cumulative effect of that on headcounts will depend on how many new entrants replace those leaving the market. SAs pass the exam at various points in life so the lack of young SAs coming up does not necessarily mean there will be a shortage.

Where are SAs based?

Unsurprisingly, most SAs live in the Americas – New York, Canada and other US cities. London has about 20% of SAs, while about 20% are based in Asia Pac. Just 3% of SAs are based in India.

Chart: Locations of supervisory analysts worldwide by timezone

Timezones - SAs

Chart: Locations of supervisory analysts worldwide by geography

What size of firm do SAs work for?

Just under half of SAs work for just 20 firms – the largest 20 investment banks in the world.

Chart: Size of firm

About 4% are without a firm at the moment, suggesting the market is quite strong. Anecdotally, there seems to be plenty of work around for SAs at the moment.


The ending of the three-year experience requirement removed one barrier to entry for prospective SAs. This might have led to a big increase in younger SAs but this does not seem to have happened, nor does a huge shift to Asia. The key barrier to entry remains the requirement for individuals to be sponsored by a FINRA firm before they can take the Series 16 exam.



Sample taken: August 2021. Sample size: 502.

Data was sourced from the Association of Supervisory Analysts, LinkedIn and FINRA Broker Check.

Ages were estimated based on year of graduation from high school. Where no graduation year was available, no age was estimated, reducing the sample size.

Large firms: JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, BofA Securities, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays Investment Bank, RBC Capital Markets, Wells Fargo Securities, Jefferies Group, BNP Paribas, Mizuho, Lazard, Nomura, Evercore Partners, BMO Capital Markets, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.