Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seeking a CFO? Wall Street is Laying Off

Wall Street is laying off investment bankers. Although most of America isn't aware of this, Wall Street has been letting go of people on a fairly consistent basis since 2008. According to the Wall Street Journal, New York City has lost 22,000 securities-industry jobs since January 2008. If you live in Manhattan, especially lower Manhattan/Battery Park or the Upper east and west sides, you will have been aware of this for some time.

True. The turnover in investment banking is high. Not as high as in consulting but still high. (Many of my Wharton peers left consulting after 2-3 years but lasted significantly longer in the i-banking sector.) Many last 10-20 years then move into something new. All of this presents opportunities for those seeking CFOs.

I've noticed many small and medium businesses in the south and midwest seek CPA-holding CFOs. That's great if you want a controller and only pursue bank loans as a means of financing but if you want to ratchet your growth to the next level, a financing-focused CFO is a better bet. (You can always have a CPA-holding controller report to your CFO.) And if you aspire to join the ranks of the mid-sized companies being covered on Wall Street (albeit to a much lesser degree than their larger peers), a CFO with an investment banking background may be the answer to your prayers.

So if you have been considering pursuing a financing-focused CFO, take heart. Many investment bankers may be willing to make the leap to a smaller entity...and even move out of the northeast. Investment bankers want quality of life too. If you're interested and don't know where to find these i-bankers who may be considering change or have been laid off, check out some of the financial associations and see if they provide job postings. Also, check with the alumni groups and career offices - alumni services of the schools that supply many to Wall Street like New York University, Wharton, Columbia, Chicago, Harvard and others. Good luck!

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