AMA--I'm a Senior Business Analyst at a BB Private Bank

I'm a Senior Business Analyst at a BB Private Bank in Los Angeles. After freezing for four years at a prominent semi-target in the Midwest, I moved to Los Angeles where I accepted an analyst position with European BB PWM firm. There, I worked for a two-person brokerage team with $500MM in assets under management (AUM). I primarily focused on restricted stock, oil/natural gas OTC stocks that traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), and created complex portfolios for high net worth individuals.

After a year, I saw an opportunity to join a much larger team (in assets and production) that needed an analyst with trading and portfolio structuring experience at a rival European BB PB firm. After six in-person interviews, I was offered the position and I have been at the firm ever since.

Types of Questions I would like to answer:
I can help on how to break into Private Banking/Private Wealth Management, what firms are looking for in candidates, interview questions, how to move up/within/and out of PB/PWM, differences between PB and IB, and discuss salary options.

Comments (30)

Feb 27, 2014

Thanks for doing this. Could you describe a typical day?

Feb 27, 2014

Betaa,

Typical day normally:
5:45/6:00AM PST: Get into the office and check emails, launch trading programs, and client specific software.
6:00AM-6:30AM PST: Relay with our syndicate desk on any IPO or secondary offerings that require Private Bank share allocation from the Investment Bank and confirm allocations with clients.
6:30AM PST: Market Opens and take several trades from hedge fund clients and former traders that like to trade at the open. (High speed algorythmic trading w/tactics used)
8:00AM PST: Listen to any 'mid-day' Seperately Managed Account (SMA)/Hedge Fund/Private Equity phone calls updating the bank on their strategies which we have on our platform.
8:30/8:45AM PST: Work on creating portfolios for prospective/existing clients while going back and forth with lead Banker and prospect/client on risk tolerance.
10:00AM-10:30/10:45AM PST: Lunch eaten on the desk
11:00AM-1PM PST: Basic analyst work: Talk to clients about the market, open new accounts, take trades, discuss structured product opportunities with clients, attend product-specific meetings, single name equity and managed account research, etc.
1:00PM PST: Market closes and prepare for post-market Investment Strategy phone call
1:30PM-4:00PM PST: Finish any proposals, ad-hoc work, discussions with other analysts/associates/bankers about weekly work,, etc.

Let me know if you would like me to elaborate on any of this.

    • 1
Feb 27, 2014

A quick explainer would be helpful.

What is the difference between Private Banking and Private Wealth Management? How is it different from Corporate Banking?

Thanks,

    • 1
Best Response
Feb 27, 2014

mongoose,

Different banks like to call their Financial Advising departments different things. For example, JPMorgan has BOTH The Private Bank and Private Wealth Management. Goldman Sachs has just Private Wealth Management, while Credit Suisse has Private Banking & Wealth Managment. The reason why firms (BB's specifically) do this is because they like to cater to different tiers of wealth. JPMorgan, for example, has a JPMorgan Private Bank (Top Tier) that supposedly caters to $25MM+ account sizes, while their Private Wealth Management group (Middle Tier/Tier 2) is more known for $10-25MM+, with JPMorgan Securities/JPMS (former Bear Stearns guys) being the true $1MM+ retail guys. Fact is, is that they're really the same and whether a firm calls their division Private Banking, Private Wealth Management, Global Wealth Management, or Advisors....it's all the same for the most part (payout may be different: salary/bonus versus commission).

Corporate Banking is more closely related to Investment Banking in that you're primarily dealing with corporations and small companies through lending. It's traditionally how banks made money and is different from investing clients' money on their behalf in different markets.

    • 4
Feb 27, 2014

What types of questions would you not like to answer?

    • 1
Feb 27, 2014

Does your position involve more dealing with clients/selling or do you have a substantial amount of analytical work? How is the comp compared to IBD in LA/SF?

Feb 27, 2014

Most PB/PWM analyst positions involve more dealing with clients/selling/Asset Management type of skills versus modeling and valuation. However, this depends on the group. I know teams within Private Banks that have $2B+ in AUM and do $15MM+ in production with 10+ team members and have their analysts run serious analysis on their clients portfolios, so it all really depends on your firm and team within the firm.

The comp is generally lower than IBD in LA/SF, but not by much. Depending on your firm with a salary + bonus pay model (JPMorgan PB and PWM and Deutsche Bank PB for example), 1st year analysts get $60-$70k w/$10k signing bonus and discretionary annual bonuses. If you work at a 'wirehouse' (BofA M/L, Wells Fargo Advisors, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, etc), you're pay is closer to $50-60k, but you can get profit sharing with your team and that varies. When I started I was paid $50k, but had a .5% profit sharing agreement with my team that did almost $5MM in production so that was roughly $75k after a year. Now, I get paid much more on base and profit sharing.

BOTTOM LINE: Salary may not be close, but it's close enough with only working 50-60 hour weeks.

    • 3
Feb 27, 2014

Business Analyst? As in ops?

So you moved from FO to BO?

Feb 27, 2014

Eurodealer,

Business Analyst is equivalent to Analyst, Financial Analyst, etc. at different firms. I can tell you very honestly, I am FO.

Feb 27, 2014

What exactly do you do? It seems you have an asset allocation type of role.
What type of positions for analysts are available at your PB?
How does GS PWM, JPM PB, and your firm differ in approach? From what I have heard of GS PWM and JPM PB seem pretty different in their structure.

Feb 27, 2014

Datphukinnewb,

As I hope you know, SA and FT Analysts are like 'jacks of all trades.' We're expected to do almost everything for our bankers and especially the clients. So you could say I do everything. I trade stocks, options, fixed income, fx, and structured products, but I also create portfolios with the Associates, VPs, and DIRs on my team while talking to existing clients about the market and their specific holdings. At the same time, I'll assist clients with opening a new account, discussing lending/margin options should they wish to pledge their assets as collateral, discuss alternative investment/managed account strategies, etc. Again, it all depends on your team.

At JPM PWM and PB, their Analysts are somewhat limited, in my opinion. They aren't allowed to trade and rarely give their opinion on the markets to clients. That's more of the Global Investment Specialist ('Investor') role, which is bullshit. However, it's a very structured 3-year program that both the PB and PWM tiers offer, with escalating salaries and progression through the system to either become Associates with a team or Product Specialists (think pay cut but cooler job). JPM loves their own and it's somewhat easy to move within Asset Management if you are a hard-worker and voice a desire to move offices or divisions, so that's nice.

I am not too familiar with GS PWM, but what I can say is that it's a solid shop that pays well relative to the street. GS PWM is a 2-year program with rotations. The Analysts are called 'Sales Analysts' and although can tout the Goldman name, the roles (from what I've heard) aren't that hands-on. Goldman also is good about Internal Mobility provided you don't piss off your Bankers.

My firm operates on more of a 'Brokerage' platform versus a 'Private Bank' platform from a pay perspective. So the payout is much better if you're a solid producer/RM/FA/whatever you want to call a Private Banker or even an analyst on his/her team. As far as roles go, it depends on your office and team. I know analysts that have been on epic teams in SF, CHI, and NYC that put in 2-3 years and then go to trading roles, switch to IB, or move to family offices.

BOTTOM LINE: It's all about relationships. No matter how 'good' of an analyst you are, no matter how many CFA/CPA/CFP exams you have passed, it's more about how you're perceived and whether someone will take a chance on you. That sometimes carries more weight than creating an epic portfolio or being able to calculate WACC in your head :-)

Hope that helps.

    • 3
Feb 27, 2014

As someone currently in PWM I am curious to hear what your role entails

Feb 27, 2014

Bobb,

See what I wrote to betaa.

Feb 28, 2014

How big and what is the structure of your team/group?

Feb 27, 2014

Would you strongly recommend moving the job market you want to end up in? It sounds like you moved into LA before you had a position lined up, yes/no? I too am interested in how much time you have or are currently spending face to face with a client/selling.

Feb 27, 2014

T-101,

That's a very risky move. Unless you have some kind of financial support and plan to network like crazy, that wouldn't be a very good idea (...in this job market). I phrased that poorly. I had an offer from a BB PWM firm in San Francisco where I had did a SA gig, but ended up turning down that offer for a (strangely) better firm and salary in Los Angeles, even if San Francisco is arguably a better 'finance city' given biotech, Silicon Valley, etc.

Again, it depends on the team, but I have a lot of face-to-face opportunities with clients. There are some clients that will only work with me, will only hear me pitch strategies to them, talk to them about option plays, etc. There's a saying in our industry: 'Got to give good phone.' No matter what, one must be personable and able to convey some of the most complex concepts to the laymen. If this can be done over the phone, Bankers will allow you to meet with clients face-to-face with them to discuss their overall goals.

    • 1
Feb 27, 2014

What is the pay like. I am a commercial banker, but looking to get into wealth management.

Feb 27, 2014

commercial.banker.2014,

Most analysts get paid $50-70k when they start and, depending on bonus, can get up to $130k all-in so it's not bad. Again, we're working 50-60 hours so that's pretty decent given how much you get paid in IB or S&T for the hours you're putting in.

Buddy of mine at JPM gets paid $125k, all in while a buddy of mine at Credit Suisse gets paid $110k all in. Both are 3rd year analysts.

    • 1
Feb 27, 2014

+1 for hilarious screen name

Feb 27, 2014

What is it like living in LA compared to the midwest? Any changes that stand out? What is the living conditions like in LA on a entry level bankers salary? Is it relatively easy to find places to live close enough to the *Financial District?

Thanks for answering questions. I have been looking for these specific answers.

Feb 27, 2014

sjl1009,

The obvious answer is that's awesome. Granted, in my opinion, LA is not a 'real city' considering it's not a condensed enough place for you to feasibly use public transportation like in SF, CHI, or NYC, it's a pretty awesome place considering the hours you work because everything is shifted three hours earlier. Not to mention the weather and the attractive people walking around. That being said, the finance community is somewhat small in LA. Downtown LA and Century City are the two main 'Financial Districts,' if you will. There's a few buyside shops in Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Pasadena, but those two spots are mainly where everything is.

Living conditions are pretty solid. Assuming one doesn't live in Century City or Beverly Hills, you're looking at pretty affordable housing all over the city, with it getting cheaper the more north you go (insert Clueless Valley girl comment). I'd have to say the popular, post-undergraduate yuppie spots to live are Santa Monica, Brentwood, Westwood, and maybe West Hollywood or Mid-Wilshire near The Grove. All of these spots are within 10 miles of Century City.

You have to understand that the two main industries in Los Angeles, arguably, are Real Estate and Entertainment. Real Estate aside, Entertainment does NOT pay well contrary to what you may see in Entourage. The reality is that most Public Relations, Agency, Music, Production, Actors/Actresses, etc. people are barely getting by and are getting crap. If you're smart/lucky enough to have a finance gig in Los Angeles, you're doing pretty well, even at an entry level bankers salary.

Hope that helps.

    • 2
Feb 28, 2014

That helped a lot...Thank you very much for your answer. Valuable insight here. I think LA is an extremely cool place so would like to consider working there possibly instead of NYC. Thanks again.

Feb 28, 2014

I guess I'll throw out the basic one, since I didn't see it in the questions above - how do you recommend getting into the industry that you are in? Are there any specific internships that will help someone place better than someone else? Lastly, what is the recruitment process like for fresh undergrads? Lots of questions, but interested to hear!

...

Feb 28, 2014

BreakingRich,

Internships/Summer Analyst gigs are almost a requisite nowadays. Networking, good grades, a good school, and SA positions are what's most important. BB PB/PWM and AM summer gigs look good.

The recruitment process is different for different banks. I can tell you that JPM, GS, DB, UBS, and MS do on-campus recuriting for their 2-3 year analyst programs. Other banks don't recruit undergrads, but you have ways of getting in by networking. Don't bother applying online, you're application will get lost in a black hole.

PM me if you have more specific questions.

Feb 28, 2014

@DoYouLikePhilCollins

Thank you very much for this great post. I was recently offered a position within a private bank division of a top U.S. bank and although I don't start my new job yet, I had no idea what to expect. This post has cleared up a lot my doubts as to what in reality my role would be and what I thought I would kinda of be doing....

I didn't know how to prepare for my new role (its a 3 yrs program right outta of MBA or M.S. Finance) and so I decided to go for my CFA level II in the mean time (I wanted to bring something to the table when I started working with my new team , instead of just showing up and saying "here I am teach me train me")

Thank you very much for this......

Feb 28, 2014

seco007,

Keep in mind that every Private Bank, every team, and every analyst program operates differently. So my experience by may be different than yours. What I can say is that if you work at a top firm, make connections. If you find that you really like it, you'll move up fast based on your connections. If you find that you want to do something different, those connections will help you, trust me. PB/PWM is not for everyone and most of the street looks down on it. What they do not realize is whatever business you're in (tech, healthcare, finance, consulting, sports, etc.), at the end of the day the people that can sell make the most money. PERIOD. Classic comparisson: PB/PWM vs. IB: At the analyst level, the work is very different, but at the DIR/MD level, it's the exact same. You are sourcing deals/clients and bringing them to the firm and because YOU are the one doing that, you'll get paid the most. PB/PWM is looked on as very sales-y, fact is that that is true. However, you have to be smart and have to know what you're talking about along with being a good salesman and any top firm.

CFA is definitely a plus in PB/PWM. Most people do not have it, but if you're starting out, it's a solid leg-up on the competition and no one will question you know you're stuff. It's probably more applicable for true portfolio management (mutual fund, hedge fund, family office) work or research, but it's definitely a plus!

Mar 1, 2014

Is it worth taking Client/Wealth Strategy/Registered Associate-level roles with BBs if you're, say, 6 months out university and do not qualify for either summer or full-time analyst programs? And, are those mostly dead-end roles that lead nowhere or is it possible to leverage them? In terms of becoming a private banker, is it better to just get client-facing experience at a retail bank (I'd rather be homeless,) than to go for these admin roles within BBs?

Thank you.

Mar 3, 2014
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Mar 3, 2014

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