Equity research is not a sexy career. Meredith Whitney said as much a few weeks' ago. Maybe this is why the attempts by a senior equity researcher to persuade his twenty-something son to go into investment banking have come to nothing. The son has stayed into consulting instead.
"My son turned his back on finance," laments Brad Hintz, the top ranked securities analyst at Sanford Bernstein in the U.S., former CFO of Lehman Brothers and ex-treasurer and managing director at Morgan Stanley. "He's a typical example of the average student now - he had a good education, a good background in banking and finance, and after spending some time at both UBS and in a traditional asset management job, he decided Wall Street wasn't where he wanted to go."
Instead, Hintz's son has become a management consultant specializing in nuclear security (a possible risky career choice in light of the U.S. fracking boom).
Hintz says he tried to persuade his son to go into banking on the grounds that the industry has a good future: "The underlying growth of the banking industry is related to global capital markets and there's nothing to say that capital markets are going to slow down in future."
Hintz also also tried convincing his son of the wisdom of counter-cyclical career choices - particularly when it comes to first jobs in financial services. He himself left university in the early 1980s and went into the oil industry, from which he was headhunted to join Morgan Stanley. However, his university peers who went straight for banking ended up doing very well for themselves. "They went onto the Street at just the point when the cycle turned and activity picked up - they were able to ride to success very early in their careers."
Young people who go into banking now could benefit from a similar cyclical uplift, says Hintz - especially if they go into U.S. wealth management, where there are some serious demographic issues. "The average age of a wealth manager here is 56 years old. How can a 56-year-old relate to a 30-year-old? There's a real need for younger people to come in and fill the shoes of wealth managers who are going to retire."
Despite his father's attempts at persuading him otherwise, Hintz said his son has no regrets about his choice of career and intends to stick with consulting. "I think that's a common feeling among young people right now," added Hintz. "Most people at his university didn't want go to Wall Street or into the City."