If you associate yourself with the ‘glamour’ roles in investment banking, you’ll not only be up against hundreds of other applicants, you’ll also be in for a nasty shock – long hours of financial modelling can hardly be considered particularly dynamic.
Away from revenue-generating positions, however, there is a select band of roles with little client interaction, which have – perhaps unfairly – been deemed as dull. Not only are banks struggling to attract candidates for these roles, they’re also paying what most would regard as attractive salaries.
1. Industrialisation programme manager
What is it?: Think cost-cutting – the person looking at the operational processes of the investment bank and how you can reduce the bill. This can be offshoring or outsourcing roles to cheaper locations, or partnering with a third-party consultancy who will lift the headcount out of the organisation and therefore remove the ‘risk’ of full-time employees away from the banks’ balance sheet. Capco, for instance, partners with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, while in July, SocGen became the first bank to transfer staff across to the post-trade processing system being offered to Accenture and Broadridge. “People to lead these programmes are few and far between,” said Mike Hartwell, managing director of recruiters Hartwell Buck.
So, how much then?: Most of these are MD roles, so around £150-200k base, suggests Hartwell.
2. Working on banks’ legacy IT systems
What is it?: Few people working in a tech role want to look behind them. Working with outdated IT like Cobol or Atlas isn’t exactly cutting edge and most people in investment banking technology want to feel they're innovating, not working on decommissioning clunky old legacy platforms. “By their very nature, these roles are becoming obsolete, so there are only about 20 people with the skills in the City,” said Ben Cowan, director of recruiters Astbury Marsden. “However, banks are still recruiting, so they’re like gold dust.”
So, how much then?: Usually contract, paying £600 a day.
3. Pricing actuary in the Lloyd’s market
What is it?: Ah, actuaries – are there many jobs with such a reputation for attracting grey individuals? What’s more it takes up to six years to qualify and you need to make it to the more senior ranks before pay makes it above £100k. However, in the Lloyd’s market these roles can be more interesting (relatively) and pay is in the premium range.
So, how much then?: Think £150-180k at the senior end, according to specialist insurance recruiters
4. Project finance
What is it?: Working in corporate banking, building roads, schools and bridges may not seem too exciting, but it’s a hot area of the business to be in, both in the UK and Asia, and banks are struggling to attract good candidates.
So, how much then?: Senior roles pay up to £150k, suggest recruiters.
5. Operational support roles in London
What is it?: Most banks, in their efforts to cut costs, have long either nearshored or offshored operational functions to locations like Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bournemouth or Belfast, so what’s left in the City? “There are a handful of roles managing problem cases, dealing with traders directly or supervising employees in nearshore locations from London,” said Cowan. “This has always been a process-driven role, but now there aren’t many colleagues left to talk to.”
So, how much then?: Around £90k, suggests Cowan.
6. Regulatory transformation
What is it?: Change is exciting, or at least exhilarating and disruptive, right? Perhaps, but working on a regulatory change position, which involves liaising with committees, stakeholder management within the organisation and dealing with regulators’ increasingly onerous demands, is not particularly attractive, said Hartwell. These roles are, however, increasingly plentiful.
So, how much then?: VP roles pay £105-110k, said Hartwell, rising to total compensation of around £400k at MD level.