Things are not great in banking. Nor, according to UBS, are they likely to get better soon. "Current market conditions and trading activity are unlikely to improve materially, potentially creating headwinds for growth in revenues and net new money," said the bank today.
This being the case, a lot of people in the industry may lose their jobs. But it is not that bad. Even though investment banking is a rarefied universe and 'just' 150k is the threshold above which you will qualify as one of the top 1% of UK income tax payers, it is possible to make six figures in the real world.
One ex-senior trader who's left the industry and still takes taxis explains. "Most of the people I know who've jumped out are pretty bright and have high expectations. If you expect to make six figures, you are going to make it happen."
Traditional favourites include: large scale property development; non-executive directorships; consultancy work with previous employers or the government.
If you're risk averse, not particularly entrepreneurial, or without the capital to renovate an apartment block in West London, there are also actual jobs you can go into. However, these are less accessible than in the past. They include:
1) Private banking and independent financial advice
This is the favourite career move of many former M&A bankers and traders.
However, while UBS has been shifting some of its M&A professionals into its wealth management arm and Credit Suisse has built a special Solution Partners unit of investment bankers within its private bank, private banking is less accessible to the former investment bank employee than it used to be.
"There are very few institutions out there with enough fat to be able to offer people without wealth management experience a 3-5 year opportunity to build a book of business," says Alex O'Callaghan at wealth management specialist Ravencourt Partners.
Matters have been complicated by the Retail Distribution Review, which specifies that by the end of 2012, anyone offering investment advice to retail customers will need to take qualifications requiring a minimum of 370 study hours.
2) Corporate banking relationship management
As investment banking declines, corporate banking ascends. Hence, while Deutsche's investment banking businesses did badly in the past quarter, its transaction banking business did well. And both JPMorgan and Bank of America have been building their EMEA corporate banking businesses.
Corporate bankers are not especially well paid, but they do earn six figures. Bryn Wesson, a finder of corporate bankers at Hamilton Chase recruitment, says senior relationship managers in corporate banks (with 10 years' experience) can expect 80k plus a bonus of 50-100%.
You could possibly move into this from investment banking, says Wesson, but you probably wouldn't want to. He adds that doing so would be hard in the current environment because there's already quite a surplus of. "skilled corporate bankers," around.
3) PR/Investor Relations
Also a great favourite of former bankers who fancy a change, PR can be very lucrative - if you hang in there.
Witness the 10k a day charged by Brunswick for PR advice on the recent takeover of engineering group Charter.
Ros Kindersley, managing director of JLF Search and Selection, says former bankers who have worked on IPOs or M&A deals, who have an understanding of investor relations, can engage with a wide variety of stakeholders and are not afraid of the media, may have a future in PR.
However, she also says the move is easiest to make at a junior level, where PR salaries are a mere 30-50k. Earning six figures in PR takes around 8 years plus, at which stage you will usually be either a partner or a director.