One of the continued fallouts from the financial crisis has been the “juniorization” of Wall Street. Big investment banks facing increased pressure to cut expenses and bloated salaries have been forced to make their organizational structures less top-heavy. The senior ranks have been thinned while headcount at the junior level has remained somewhat consistent – they’ve just been asked to take on more responsibility.
So what banks rely most on juniors? And which have shown a proclivity toward holding on to their most experienced staff? To find out, we scoured through FINRA’s database and looked at the total number of employees currently registered in New York at every big investment bank. We then identified the percentage of those employees who have between zero and three years of experience as well as those who have been working at the firm in question for at least two decades. We looked only at brokers, disregarding investment managers who are more likely to put in longer careers at larger wirehouses.
As you can see below, UBS, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch employ the highest percentage of veteran employees. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Barclays are on the opposite side of the ledger. Unsurprisingly, these three firms employ the greatest percentage of FINRA-registered employees with only a few years of experience.
Now that isn’t to say that Goldman, J.P. Morgan and Barclays are necessarily cutting all their senior staff. Surely many of those who are no longer working at the same firm after 20-plus years have retired, particularly if they were well-compensated for more than two decades. Working in securities at Goldman for 20 years should help build a sizable nest egg, one would assume. Nonetheless, the firm currently appears to rely more on its junior staff than any of its contemporaries. The stats suggest that rivals like UBS and Morgan Stanley are more likely to employ you for multiple decades. The question that remains is whether that is always a good thing.
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