Banks are Increasingly Hiring Experienced Finance Teams Able to Hit the Ground Running

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When wealth management advisors Christopher Agnew, Gary Hewitt and Darrell Henricksen joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney's Davenport, Iowa office recently from Merrill Lynch, the migration of the three-person team—which managed more than $300 million in assets—was nothing out of the ordinary these days, says a recruiter.

More and more banks “of all shapes and sizes” now want to hire highly experienced industry veterans—those with 15 or even 20 years in the business—and they’re increasingly seeking to hire full teams of professionals as opposed to individuals, says Jeanne Branthover, managing director and head of the global financial services practice with Boyden New York.

For the first time in a long while, she tells eFinancialCareers, banks are bringing Boyden in to assess where their hiring will take place for 2013, rather than taking the position that all hiring is on hold.

Hiring in Wealth Management

Branthover is seeing hiring continue in wealth management specifically in private banking, asset management and family offices as well as investment firms and financial service companies investing in their technology and people to be competitive.

Last year, the emphasis was on hiring executives experienced in managing risk, including compliance officers, CFOs and boards. Now she is seeing companies doing “lift outs”—which amounts to hiring successful well-known teams with proven track records away from competitors.

Need to Generate Revenue ASAP

Branthover says more and more financial firms now realize “they need to generate revenue ASAP, and there’s no time to home grow the talent.”

“In the past, firms were concerned that the team coming on board would not fit the company culture and rock the boat,” she adds.

Drive to Gain Market Share

Now, with many company cultures in transition due to consolidations, mergers, downsizing and changes in leadership, she says, there is less concern about culture and more on gaining market share and generating revenue right now. Also, small- and mid-size banking and investment company CEOs realize that “if you want market share, a smart way to get there is to bring in a team from a larger firm to start rocking and rolling immediately."

More Experienced the Better

“Right now, for the first time in my career of over 20 years, the mantra has become ‘The more experienced the better,’” she says, adding that banks are seeking people who’ve been through more than a single down cycle. “I am moving people with 20 years of experience and more,” says the recruiter.

Among the professionals sought are:

(1) Those who can successfully perform client-facing roles, “superior customer service, strong client relationships are critically important to generate revenue. Expanding on and keeping existing customers is easier than getting new ones,” says the recruiter.

(2) Those who can combine relationship expertise with successful business development. And:

(3) Finance pros who are current with today’s technology. "Technology is here to stay and changing daily. Learn it, know it, stay current,” says the recruiter.

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