I'm 52 years old and I've worked in both investment research for three major investment banks and a couple of independent research firms. I've worked across client services, sales and marketing. I'm good, but no one wants to hire me. Not on real money.
Finance has always been ageist but it's gotten much worse. I can remember when the bias was in favor of experience. - About 30 years ago, they'd only want to hire 45 to 55 year-olds for their expertise. Now they only want to hire 22 to 32 year olds because they're desperate for millennials who know all about coding and bitcoin. - And because those millennials play hard to get by preferring to work for technology firms, banks want them all the more.
Meanwhile, us seasoned Wall Streeters who understand the business and have ten to twenty years of work left in us are ignored because all we know is 1) how to talk to clients without looking at our smartphones every 10 seconds, 2) how generate ideas for clients because we have lived through numerous business cycles and scenarios and 3) how to create relationships with clients via the many relationships we have cultivated over time.
Yes, you can always become a 'consultant' and yes, I've tried that. But consulting gets lonely. Initially I was hopeful about getting a new full time job, but both HR departments and executive recruiters have now stopped responding other than, the "we've received your resume" in the beginning of the process.
The only area these firms will even talk to you about a full time job is if you're applying to be a, "financial planning professional." This is code name for "senior asset gatherer," and is less about developing client relationships and more about how many dollars you can extract get from your extended family tree. Hardly any of these financial planning positions pay over $100K and it's essentially like starting all over for us when we were all getting out of college aeons ago.
So, don't listen to banks when they say there's a talent shortage. We're all here waiting on the sidelines. Personally, I will give finance the rest of this year to take advantage of my ability. If nothing happens, I'll move into another industry. Starting over won't be easy, but at least it will be refreshing.
J. Francis was a Wall Street sales and marketing pro for 25 years for a few major investment banking firms and is still hoping to return
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