COMMENT: Why markets jobs in Toronto are better than in London and New York

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Banking jobs Toronto

Toronto is the new mecca for jobs in banking. Believe me, I know.

I joined a bulge bracket bank in equity research towards the end of 2009 in London. Gradually as costs were cut and banks restructured I watch the colleagues on my graduate program depleted. 90 of us soon turned to three, and with MiFID II on the horizon, the attractions of European equity research started to wane.

I’ve always wanted to have an international career, so I looked abroad for my next move. My initial conversations with the head of research were focused on New York and Hong Kong, the two logical financial locations for someone who wants to get out of London. However, it soon became clear that neither would fit the bill. NY meant losing stock coverage (which I’d worked so hard to gain), plus horror stories of dictatorial analysts, more work, less bottom line pay, less holiday...- In short, a poorer quality of life. Hong Kong had similar traits, plus it seemed that my inability to speak Mandarin or Cantonese would be a constraint to my career progression, especially in equity research.

Then, however, I was approached with a totally different role. Global equity sales in Toronto. I’d never really considered Toronto as an option. I knew it always scored highly in the liveability indexes - but as a place to work in finance? 

The more I dug into it, the more I realized that it made sense. Toronto is the place for Canadian pension money. This is a market that's not only worth more than $2tr but that has the rare attribute of developed market growth. Three factors are at work in Canada's huge pensions sector: pension funds have been dropping passive tracking and becoming more active, they've been diversifying out of Canada by buying global assets, and many funds will continue accruing pension assets for another 25 years. 

Within two weeks I’d wrapped up my life in London, and I was there. Ok, Toronto is a smaller peripheral office and that isn’t for everyone; it comes with its own risks. But working here feels more entrepreneurial, like running a smaller business. It's also immediately elevated my internal profile. I now get exposure to the heads of every region I deal with globally.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available. Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

Seriously, it’s time to reconsider the NY, HK, LN triumvirate if you want a better life in finance. There’s more out there! 

Hayes Harding is the pseudonym of an equities professional who now lives in Toronto 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available. Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

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