Aylen knew almost nothing about outplacement, but was given the option of choosing a service provider. Although Investec has established links with some large outplacement firms, a personal contact led Aylen to Mark to Market, a firm specialising in outplacement for trading and broking staff.
He says: 'Their style suited me. They've got facilities such as Bloomberg so you can keep up with the markets and they're in the City. That's important because in this game, if you're out of touch, you're almost dead.
'The background of the people at Mark to Market helped me through what is still a daunting process,' he adds.
Aylen says that having somewhere to go and having a structure for spending his time were especially important. 'I went in three days a week, including Monday mornings. Unlike people who are working, come Monday morning, I was thinking, 'I've got nowhere to go'.'
He got practical help with writing and tailoring his CV to particular positions, plus moral support and confidence boosting. 'The intention is to make sure your CV is on top of the pile. There's an art to looking at an ad and getting the style right, seeing what the real needs are of the prospective employer.'
With the help of his consultant, Aylen also thought about his skills and achievements for the first time in years. 'Being involved in the job I was, you do things automatically. You don't think much about what you're doing and what is important to you. They get you to reflect in depth,' he says.
The networking aspect was also critical and eventually led Aylen to a full-time position, which he started recently, in structured finance with Prebon Marshall Yamane. 'It's something I wouldn't have come across on my own,' he says. Via contacts at Mark to Market, Aylen did some consultancy for Prebon and so was in prime position to apply for the role in structured finance when it became vacant. 'I love it,' he says. 'It's a little different to treasury because I'm more client focused than before. The nice thing now is that my recommendations make a difference to the business. That's a good boost to the confidence.'
Aylen's advice to anyone seeking outplacement is to shop around for the right firm. 'What was important for me was an organisation that identified with my background.'