There's No Escape, It Seems

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A recent visit to my neighborhood bank gave a fresh illustration of how tough the job market is for finance professionals - even those whose functions and employers are supposedly holding up relatively well.

I was in a Brooklyn retail branch of a global institution for help with a routine checking-account matter. The person who served me turned out to be an experienced private banker, recently transferred from the bank's private client unit in Manhattan. Her department had been downsized and she'd been offered a choice between a much lower-paying job in that unit, or working in a retail branch.

She opted for the latter. So instead of fielding unique challenges for private clients, today she's forced to live off whatever assets and fees crawl in off the street, through riffraff like me.

This happened within a strong institution. And it involves a business segment - wealth management - that generated a string of headlines about retention bonuses and recruiting wars earlier this year.

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