Senior investment banking jobs are making a comeback, but there are still people out of the market. What, therefore, can you do if you were in corporate finance/M&A and want to do something totally different?
1) Non-executive directorships
Becoming a Non-Executive Director (NED) is a definite possibility, but only if you were an MD or equivalent, says Barry Dinan at NED headhunters Hanson Green.
“There’s demand for NEDs with investment banking experience, both in smaller companies that are seeking to grow by acquisition and in companies where knowledge of the City is lacking,” says Dinan. “It can be very easy to move into.”
Pay: Around 40k per role. And Dinan says you could manage “four or five.”
2). Corporate strategizing
Former investment bankers have also been known to get jobs in corporate development (internal M&A) or corporate strategy (strategizing for the future).
Last month, Dell let it be known that it’s looking for someone to work internally on M&A. Longer ago, Warren Finegold, a former technology banker at UBS, famously joined Vodafone, a client, as head of global corporate development in 2006.
However, corporate development roles tend to go to senior M&A bankers and opportunities are limited. “The market for corporate developers has substantially subsided,” says Ben Jones, Head of the CFO Practice at search firm Whitehead Mann. “Companies are less willing to deploy money into new investments until they have more confidence in the economy.”
Alternatively, corporate strategy and market intelligence roles pay less but are easier to come by as companies seek to shape the future and keep tabs on competitors.
“There’s a need for independent thinkers with the academic rigour to really get to grips with a sector,” says Julia Hordle of recruitment firm Intelligent Resources.
Pay: Senior roles in corporate strategy can pay 150k up. Junior roles in market intelligence pay 30k up. “The people who find their way to us have often had a shock, like being let go, and who want to get off the transaction treadmill,” says Hordle.
3). Strategy consulting
Strategy consulting firms like Bain & Co. and McKinsey & Co operate financial services arms and may be interested in your talents. Nick Studer, global head of finance and risk in the financial services team at consultants Mercer Oliver Wyman, says they’ve got lots of former investment bankers working there.
It’s easiest to move across when you’re comparatively junior, says Studer. “Investment banking and analytical roles both require analytical skills, but our job involves much longer and deeper penetration into the clients’ problems and junior folks can typically learn that more quickly.”
Pay: An associate at McKinsey (usually someone with around five years’ work experience or an MBA) earns a base salary of around 70k, plus a bonus of around 20%.
4). The not for profit sector
There also appear to be opportunities for ex-investment bankers in charities. Richard Evans, chief executive of not for profit headhunters CFA Appointments, says they are “actively sourcing” ex-M&A/corporate finance types for roles as finance directors, directors of finance and administration, directors of operations or chief executives, as well as for trustee positions. However, he adds that there can be questions over former bankers’ commitment to a not for profit career.
James Campion at recruiters Michael Page, says investment bankers will find it easiest to move into the housing sector: “Their skills are most transferable into development finance roles.”
Pay: Varies. Charity trustees typically earn nothing. The largest charities will pay six figures for senior roles. Smaller ones will pay 60k plus.