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Opportunities Open in Smaller Firms as Big Banks Sweat Layoffs

Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 1.2 percent rise in U.S. securities industry employment during the second quarterbig banks simply aren't the best place to look for new spots right now.

The reason: They're continuing to retool post-meltdown, says John Mazzei, managing director and head of the financial institutions group for Rand Thompson Consultants. "The large global banks aren't hiring just yet, as they're coming to the end of their year," he observes.

Instead, set your sights on some of the tinier players. Mazzei says that new opportunities are cropping up at smaller asset management firms and broker-dealers, as well as at regional investment banks. In fact, Mazzei says his phones are very, very busy with employers looking for seasoned candidates.

"Everyone's looking to differentiate their asset base, so an asset gatherer is helpful," he says. Typically, these spots are for people with significant investor relationships and a proven track record of raising funds. An entrepreneurial streak is key. And, Mazzei notes, there are always additional posts for individuals with financial acumen at businesses outside of the banks and investment world. "There are always non-financial firms trying to get a hold of this sort of talent."

Risk management and credit risk posts are always big, especially at banks and investment firms still worried about their book of business. "They simply don't want to replay the mistakes of the past," says Ed Koch, managing director for Addison Search. Typically, these are midcareer folks with five to 10 years of experience.. Plus, financial professionals with significant IT expertise geared to banking and asset management are always going to find a place, Koch says.

But identifying the best opportunities can be a challenge, given the commoditization of jobs on Wall Street. Those looking for more creative and higher paying positions - spots with authority and money/decision-making responsibility - may need to be more thoughtful about what the job description really says. Look to the specifics, Mazzei advises.

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AUTHORMyra Thomas Insider Comment
  • Ma
    Manuel Rivera
    26 August 2010

    LOOK FOR FINANCE RELATED JOBS AT THE SMALLER BROKERAGE FIRMS. The era of the behemoth firm is dwindling. The era of the velociraptor firm is here. (from Juracic Park). Many new stealth firms are cropping up, replacing the big dinosaur firms. (over-regulation and government control at the behemoths). The new smaller firms are looking for the RIGHT talent to join them to recreate new, better servicing brokerage firms.

  • Br
    Bruce Cooley
    26 August 2010

    Really???? I have not seen it here in California...at all! I WAS the AVP & Manager Fixed Income Trading for WaMu Investments, Washington Mutual's Broker/Dealer, and have been stymied in trying to find a job here in Southern California. After speaking with my collegues who are still employed, they have stated just the opposite, that they are in a freeze if not down sizing...! I am looking for these opportunities nationwide, and have not heard from any of these "Firms" looking for the "seasoned and experienced" talent..... If they are out there, I would know who to contact!!!

  • Sa
    Sati
    25 August 2010

    I presently live and work in Boston, MA but was originally from London so I am eligible to work in both Europe and the US.

    I would love the opportunity to work in this industry but have little experience as I cannot find anyone to hire me to gain the experience. I am an Engineer by trade and am a Chartered Engineer in Europe (US Equivalent of a PE). I am on course for completing my MBA and have a Masters and Bachelors in Engineering with over 8 years experience in this field with Lean Six Sigma and Project Management certifications and experience.
    I have been told that Engineers make very good analysts due to our methodical and data crunching nature. But, as I would like to make the switch, hence my MBA, no one is willing to take me on so that I may learn and apply my knowledge from practical experience that I have gained. So the question is how do you get into an industry that requires you have x amount of years experience when you apply for an entry level/graduate position.??

  • Ja
    Jahn Hartswick
    25 August 2010

    Ken I'd like to hire you immediately. Can you work nights, weekends, and holidays?

  • Ke
    Kenneth Eisenman
    25 August 2010

    While I totally agree with Mr Mazzei's point, I'd love to be contacted by these firms seeking seasoned, experienced professionals like myself. To be able to contribute to an organization's continued growth and success would be terrific and the fianancial/business acumen I have and offer would benefit some Company for sure. I am currently looking into crossing over to another industry where my background can be applied in a role that suits a firm's needs and they can utilize my skills and talent to enhance their bottom line. And lastly, to Mr. Koch's comment, being able to apply my expertise in a financial position but within the private sector, as opposed to a traditional financial institution, would just broaden my career immensely.

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