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How much is Elon Musk's right-hand man paid?

By Paul Westall

The world’s richest man makes headlines for a variety of reasons, but his ongoing acquisition of Twitter is pushing his single family office (SFO) Excession, further into the limelight.

It is also placing a spotlight on Excession managing director and Musk’s right-hand man, Jared Birchall, who is now leading one of the most significant takeovers in history.

Birchall has been working for Musk for six years, both within the SFO and Neuralink, a neurotechnology company co-founded by Musk in 2016 that develops implantable brain–machine interfaces. While leading a private professional life for many years at firms such as Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley, Birchall is now one of the most-talked about leaders in the community - and the question on everyone’s lips is, how much does the man who works for the world’s richest man make?

Given the fact that SFOs are the investment vehicles of ultra-high-net-worth individuals, it should come as no surprise that the leaders responsible for managing this wealth are compensated highly. For those managing multiples of billions, this can often mean multi-million-dollar packages.

As Excession has only two employees, we can surmise that Birchall is assuming the role of managing director and chief investment officer, so let’s delve into both data sets.

According to family office recruiter Agreus Group’s global compensation data and the majority of managing directors and chief executive officers who work for US-based SFOs take home a basic salary of more than $396,000. This is paired most commonly with a 31%-50% performance bonus alongside long-term incentive plans. This figure increases when looking at SFOs with more than $5 billion in assets under management (AUM), the bracket in which we would categorise Elon Musk, where those in Birchall’s position take home $450,001-$500,000 as a basic salary, more than 80% of the time.

The data alone might suggest that Birchall would take home upwards of $750,000 but given the fact that he works with just one other employee, we can also assume he performs the role of chief investment officer.

The average basic salary structure for chief investment officers within an SFO in America is $264,001-$330,000, however, the majority take home a great deal more. More than 30% of chief investment officers receive a basic compensation of more than $396,001 and this only increases in-line with AUM.

Chief investment officers working within SFOs managing more than $5 billion can and often do take home more than seven figures. Agreus’ compensation data reveals that more than 50% of chief investment officers in this level of SFO take home between $450,001-$500,000 as a basic salary and just under 20% reach over the $500,000 mark as a basic salary.

Pairing basic salary with bonuses offers a much clearer picture of what these leaders can take home each year. Most chief investment officers surveyed told us that they take home between 31% and 100%. An equal amount of participating chief investment officers said their bonus ranged from 31% and 50%, 51% and 75%, and 76% and 100% of their annual salary. A further 15% said they took home more than 100% of their salary as a bonus every year.

With the average chief investment officer for a $5 billion-plus SFO taking home $500,000 and the average bonus sitting at 66%, you can imagine that Jared Birchall is earning a minimum of $830,000 every year. That’s without his dual role as managing director for the SFO and chief executive officer of Neuralink and, of course, any long-term incentive plans.

Naturally, just like the families that lead them, each SFO compensation structure is unique.

Take Helmut Jeggle as an example, the former managing director of Athos Service Family Office in Munich which manages the assets of the Strüngmann brothers and backed the world’s first and most effective coronavirus vaccination. Through his 14-year tenure, he was able to co-invest alongside his principals and in 2021 generated enough wealth to establish his own SFO, Salvia where he now manages both his own wealth and the wealth of the Strüngmanns. His single investment in BioNTech in 2008 generated shares which he partially sold in 2020 for $49.2M which just illustrates the incredible compensation taken home by trusted SFO leaders in a position of power.

Just like Jeggle, Jared Birchall has supported Elon Musk and his assets for more than six years and, with the sheer wealth at play, you can only imagine the significance of his compensation.

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