While investment banks and hedge funds continue to suffer excruciating pain, general insurers aren't doing too badly. The Economist said as much in a recent article. And the last financial services survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the CBI found that insurers remain marginally more enthusiastic about hiring than about firing.
With this in mind, former client facing bankers appear to be reorienting themselves in the direction of the insurance industry.
"We've had a lot of bankers applying," says Andy Byrne, director of insurance recruiters Hillman Saunders. "People have lost their jobs, but they still have mortgages to pay and are willing to do anything."
Byrne says there are opportunities for former client facing bankers to move into account management roles in insurance. "Insurance companies are placing a lot more emphasis on broker retention and are putting a lot more money into key account managers. These are executive roles, but they don't require deep product knowledge," he says.
Unfortunately, Bryne says bankers applying for client facing roles at insurers are unlikely to command more than 40k unless they have prior insurance industry experience.
However, some insurance recruiters say they'd be lucky to get even this. "Investment bankers phone up and say they'd be happy to earn 60k. But given they're trying to move into something they know nothing about, they'd be lucky to get 30k," says another recruiter.
He adds that most insurance companies are only interested in hiring account managers with insurance experience.
David Carr, London director of the insurance team at recruitment firm Hays agrees: "Client managers need industry knowledge," he says.