RANKED: The Best US Cities For Wall Street Hotshots
Not everywhere in the world is suited to Wall Streeters. They have specific needs that are all governed by one truth - bankers have money, but no time. Still with the little time they have, bankers need to travel, feed themselves, dress the part, impress their clients and try to have a little fun once in a while.
Business Insider decided to try to figure out the truth about the best place to do all that.
We took 16 of the most important financial hubs in the U.S. and ranked them by their suitability for the banker life.
The Banker Livability Index has five components - length of commute (time is money), flight times to NYC, London, and Hong Kong (for getting to important meetings), services to make a banker's life easier (gyms, late night delivery, maid services, and laundry/dry cleaners), places to take clients and network (high end restaurants, high end bars, and, for special clients, strip clubs), and proximity to various luxury clothing stores.
Lets see if anyone reconsiders some of their life choices after this one.
What's there: Detroit is synonymous with the auto industry, home of General Motors and a number of other auto manufacturers.
Banker Livability Index: 66
Why the rank: Detroit, tragically, lacks most of the amenities a banker needs. Motown received the lowest scores of any of the cities in the subindexes for services and for places to go out.
15. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
What's there: A ton of Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Minneapolis, including Target, U.S. Bancorp, General Mills, and Ameriprise Financial.
Banker Livability Index: 78
Why the rank: Minneapolis bankers enjoy a slightly shorter commute than many of their peers in other cities, but a dearth of expensive restaurants and bars holds the Twin Cities back.
What's there: Bank of America, a monolith of the financial industry.
Banker Livability Index: 81
Why the rank: Charlotte has a similar BLI profile to Minneapolis - a fairly short commute and okay services, but without too many high end bars or restaurants.
See the rest of the cities here
How We Made The Banker Livability Index:
To rank cities based on how banker-friendly they are, we followed a pretty similar method as with the Shiftless Millennial City Index. The Banker Livability Index is a weighted average of five component sub-indexes, as follows:
Length of commute: Bankers are important people, and they cannot afford to waste too much time getting around. For each city, we found the average lengths of peoples' trips to work from the Selected Economic Characteristics table in the U.S. Census' 2012 American Community Survey. Length of commute makes up 20% of the full index.
Length of flight times to key cities: Bankers often have to travel to hubs like New York, London, and Hong Kong. For each city, we went to expedia.com and found the shortest flight available to those hub cities, and took the average of the three times. We made a minor exception for Stamford, and used the travel time for a Metro North train to Grand Central instead of a flight time. This measure is 15% of the full index.
Services: Bankers need access to various amenities to maintain their busy lives. We estimated the number of gyms (bankers need to stay in shape), maid services, late-night delivery places, and laundry/dry cleaning services by going to yelp.com and counting up the number of reviewed businesses of each type in each city. We took that number and divided by the city's population, to adjust for size. Services make up 25% of the full index.
Nightlife: Bankers need good places to take clients, and to unwind and blow off some steam. Again using yelp.com, we found the number of high end restaurants and bars (taking advantage of the cost filter and only counting the most expensive establishments), and the number of strip clubs in each city. As with services, we adjusted by the size of the city. Nightlife makes up 25% of the index.
High End Retail: Bankers need to dress the part, and so they need access to top of the line clothing. We chose eight high end clothing retailers - Brooks Brothers, Allen Edmonds, Ferragamo, Gucci, Hermes, J. Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Hugo Boss - and, using the store locators on the retailers' websites, counted up the number of stores near each city. Retail makes up the final 15% of the index.
We converted each of the components into an index by dividing each city's value by the average over all the cities studied and multiplying by 100. For example, Chicago had 26 of the high-end retail stores, compared to an average value of 19.5 among all 16 cities, so Chicago's retail score was 100 × (26/19.5) = 133. This represents the measure as a percentage of the average, so Chicago's score tells us that it had 33% more of the high end retail stores than the average among the cities. These index scores are convenient because they allow us to more easily compare and combine the different components.
For the commute times and the flight times, we instead use the reciprocal of the above relationship, dividing the average by the value for each city. For example, Omaha had the shortest commute at 18.2 minutes, compared to the average of 27.6. So, Omaha's commute score was 100 × (27.6/18.2) = 152. This allows us to reward cities that have shorter commutes, and punish cities that have longer commutes.
The final step is to put the components together, taking a weighted average of the sub-indexes using the weights indicated above, giving us the complete Banker Livability Index.