With headhunters suggesting that senior people are back in fashion as banks look for steady hands to steer them through the pandemic, we revisited the FINRA database that shows the experience profile of employees at different banks in the U.S..
If banks are indeed pivoting away from the juniorization trend of recent years, FINRA's figures suggest they have a long way to go. In New York City, between 34% and 47% of employees currently registered as brokers across five leading banks have less than five years' experience. Between 20% and 29% have less than two years' experience.
Interestingly, there are considerable discrepancies between banks.
We looked at the experience profiles of employees registered as FINRA brokers who are working either at or very close to five banks' head offices in New York City: Goldman Sachs at 200 West Street; JPMorgan at 277 Park Avenue; Morgan Stanley at 1,585 Broadway; Barclays at 7th Avenue; and UBS at 6th Avenue.
Goldman had 5,569 employees in our sample; JPMorgan had 7,546; Morgan Stanley had 6,413; Barclays had 2,615; UBS had 4,266.
FINRA brokers buy and sell securities, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment products.
As the chart above shows, FINRA's data suggests Goldman has proportionately more registered brokers with less than two years' experience than other banks. Similarly, it has proportionately fewer registered brokers with more than ten and 20 years' experience.
If you're a highly experienced broker looking for a job at NYC, the implication is that you might be better received at the likes of UBS or Morgan Stanley, where experience staff constitute a higher proportion of the total.
Employing swathes of highly able juniors makes good sense. Goldman Sachs frequently describes itself as operating an apprenticeship model when it comes to hiring and training juniors. A recent Harvard Business Review article said that the firm typically hires around 3,000 summer interns globally on an annual basis. A similar number of juniors might be expected to start at the firm each year as graduate hires.
While Goldman trains-up thousands of top tier juniors as apprentices, it's also had an historic focus on promoting people internally to its most senior roles of managing director and partner. Some partners - like Orla Dunne - have been with the bank for over two decades; others tend to leave within a few years of their promotion.
FINRA's figures reflect years of experience in total, not just experience with that particular firm. This isn't the first time that Goldman has appeared to employ a higher proportion of juniors than rivals, Nor is the first time that UBS and Morgan Stanley have appeared to employ higher proportions of very senior staff. - Last time we looked at FINRA's figures in early 2019, they showed a similar pattern.
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