The rise of London as an investment banking center has gotten much media play in recent months. But professionals with international expertise can benefit from the expansion of European firms right here in the U.S.
The attraction of the U.S. consumer's spending power and the American capital market is creating a wave of European company expansion here, presenting opportunities for finance professionals in a wide range of disciplines. Such employers seek skilled investment managers, accountants, analysts and CPAs who have industry knowledge and an understanding of foreign markets.
Being the point person for such a start up or expansion means a lot of work and wearing a lot of hats. However, it can also mean tremendous authority and opportunity for the right person.
Foreign firms are particularly seeking U.S. professionals with expertise in trading and corporate finance, says Michael Hunt, managing director of North American business for the New York-based Tardis Group, an executive search firm specializing in the investment banking industry. "They are looking for local knowledge and the ability to tap into local clients," says Hunt.
"The banking and investment banking field is certainly looking stateside for expansion of its markets," says Ken April of April International in New Rochelle, N.Y. His executive search firm specializes in international placement of professionals in the financial services industry.
"The number of European financial institutions expanding their reach in the U.S. is growing at an ever-increasing rate," says April. One such expansion involves London-based HSBC, which is growing its American operations by adding branches in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
April also cites the Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank as European-based firms with extensive and strong locations in the U.S. "Many of the finance firms and their foreign affiliates are growing, and these big foreign investment banks and banking firms want to fill a bulk of the jobs here with Americans," he notes. Other key sectors expanding here include foreign retail, automotive and alternative energy companies looking to tap into the interest and demand in the U.S.
While it helps to staff an American office with Americans, Hunt notes, firms will also provide a large segment of employees and management from the home office. That can still lead to cultural differences stateside. "It takes time before it is all figured out," he notes.