The purpose of investment banking jobs is changing. Once, they were all about earning large amounts of money in small amounts of time. Now, they’re partly about getting the right brands on your CV and partly about meeting people who (if they stick at it) will become rich in future and buy things from you if you quit banking to become an entrepreneur.
The first point was made by Wharton Business School and McGill University in a study released last year. The Wharton showed that you earn more in later life when you have a big name brand (Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan) on your CV. The second point is made by Bloomberg journalist Max Abelson today. Abelson shows that people who’ve exited banking are now having fun selling expensive items to people who haven’t.
Take Serge Marquie, former head of corporate equity derivatives at Goldman Sachs, who now sells Napa Valley Wines to ‘bankers and hedge fund guys’. Or Jay Dweck, the former head of global strategies at Goldman who is now busy selling illuminated violin-shaped pools to former colleagues with $5m to spare.
Marquie and Dweck aren’t the first former bankers to figure there’s money to be made from colleagues who are in the industry for the long haul. Helena Boas, the founder of female bankers’ favourite underwear label, Bodas, began life as an analyst at Mercury Asset Management. Barney Stratton, a former corporate financier who left the City of London over a decade ago, is now well known for his ‘Stockton Shoot,‘ which offers London bankers the opportunity to take potshots at pheasants. Andrew Kojima, a former equities analyst at Morgan Stanley and UBS, is now busy cooking for friends’ dinner parties.
The selling-stuff-to-ex-colleagues trend is only likely to gather pace. As banks reinstate their ‘pyramids’ and opportunities to make it to the top of the hierarchy dwindle, it will make more sense to drop out and sell high-margin deluxe items to people at the top of structure than it will to to cling on bitterly half way up.