Senior investment banker quits finance for education

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Brian Daly, a 30-year veteran of investment banking who was most recently head of EMEA futures and options sales at Royal Bank of Scotland, has quit the industry to try and carve out a career in education.

Daly left RBS in April 2013 after less than a year, as it continued to pare back its investment bank, but has now decided to call it quits and start a “second career” in education. He declined to be interviewed for this article, other than to say that it has been a steep learning curve making the switch and that 2014 was for “actively solving for my lack of work experience in education”.

So far, this has involved working as a policy fellow for the UK Department of Education, as a consultant to the Tri-Borough of Education in London and consulting with ARK Academies, working on a behavioural management project.

All of this sounds more ambitious than simply quitting finance to enjoy the more leisurely pace of being a teacher. While it sounds good in principle to quit investment banking for a role that has the potential to be more fulfilling and offers much better holiday allocation, it doesn’t always work out.

Jonathan Pierce, the former head of banks research at Credit Suisse, left to become a secondary maths teacher in 2011, only to return last year for a role at Exane, where he intends to stay “for a few years”. Teaching, it seems, doesn’t always pay the bills when you’re used to the big pay packages on offer in the financial sector.

However, Daly’s point about building up work experience before attempting to switch careers is a valid one. Kirsty Prest, who worked in M&A and equity capital markets at Citigroup before switching into teaching maths this year. The decision was prompted by a desire to escape the long hours demanded from a front office investment banking career and to spend more time with her children, she says.

Her experience in the financial sector helped her offer pupils advice on job-seeking, interviews and bring “real life context” to the mathematical concepts she’s teaching, she says. “I’d really recommend work experience before starting out – I worked one day a week and really enjoyed it, so it confirmed it was something I’d really like to do.”

Daly leaves behind a long career in investment banking, which has included long stints at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan.

He spent 14 years working from Goldman Sachs from 1983 until 1997 within its futures department across New York, London and Paris. Until 2000, he headed JPMorgan’s equity futures desk before switching to a managing director position at Morgan Stanley as European product manager for listed derivatives.

Daly spent 10 years at the U.S. bank before a swift stint as head of prime services at MF Global in 2011 – shortly before its collapse – and then moving to his final investment banking position at RBS.

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