Is it just me or is Toronto the absolute worst place for banking

I am currently on the search for IB analyst jobs in Toronto and literally no one is hiring. You have agentis and BMO hiring for new grads that’s it. I have never seen a market so dead. There are a bunch of experienced hire roles for asset management and finance open but require like 5 years of experience. I feel like this is the worst city to be in banking. We have a small number of boutiques available and they aren’t hiring. The big five job postings are dead and usually if they’re open it’s just going to go to a lateral. Anyone else in the same boat?

 
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I work in banking in Toronto and it was a bad decision.

- Salaries are low. While higher than "average jobs", a regular banking staffer won't be able to afford a regular life here. Several of my colleagues are sharing an apartment with others and nobody has a car. I decided to live outside of Toronto to have a car and pay less in rent. A normal house is not a reality for the majority of single households. Out of 136 neighborhoods in Toronto, only around 30 have property below 1M $CAD (this number might have changed while I was posting this).

- risk-averse culture, tech gap
Toronto (maybe Canada in general) isn't up to speed on technological development. People are often risk-averse and only hire or want candidates with very similar backgrounds. Not a good place if you are an innovator, managing change in any way or just don't have a lot of Canadian experience.

- almost no jobs in specialty areas
As you have stated, there are almost no jobs in finance in all of the GTA. It is a tiny place compared to London or NYC and it will remain at that scale.
While a growing number of people in a country is normally positive in the long-run, the keys for the financial market are with very few banks that are not very innovative compared to the UK or the US.

- Mass immigration is only good for some
While millions in immigrants will eventually be a win for the country, at this point in time only landlords, car dealers and businesses will profit from it. If you need an apartment or a job (anywhere) - good luck. they don't exist.

 

To be fair with Toronto and Vancouver, it is equally difficult to buy a home in London/UK, NYC/US, or the other hot spots around the world. I am not even touching California at this point.

But at the very least you have somewhat adequate salaries in those places. Toronto just won't compensate for your skills in the same way. If you don't have a spouse/partner with a high salary (both salaries combined have to in the higher six figure income range), there is no way to purchase a decent house in a good neighborhood.

All the houses I looked at in Toronto were way over 1M CAD.

 

It sucks because I did schooling at a Canadian target, worked my way. Got a decent job out of school in IB albeit I was way underpaid below market as it was a boutique, but “experience right?” :/. Now I’m just thinking about leaving. In London there’s way more shops just way more, and at least there you can grow. Here, forget about it, you have the big 5, globals who don’t even fucking hire, and a bunch of no name boutiques. It’s terrible. Add up the fact that salaries are lower and you can’t even excel to pay for a decent house. It’s nuts. I need to leave.

 

I couldn't agree more. My experiences were very similar, with the exception that I left Europe to work in a different country. and how different it has been...

I am stuck in Canada, with no real avenue out of it. British companies don't really care about applicants who live on another continent.

But you could also work in NYC, not just London.

 
mech60

I work in banking in Toronto and it was a bad decision.

- Salaries are low. While higher than "average jobs", a regular banking staffer won't be able to afford a regular life here. Several of my colleagues are sharing an apartment with others and nobody has a car. I decided to live outside of Toronto to have a car and pay less in rent. A normal house is not a reality for the majority of single households. Out of 136 neighborhoods in Toronto, only around 30 have property below 1M $CAD (this number might have changed while I was posting this).

Are you serious about a banking job not affording a normal life in Toronto? First year analysts are making close to $200k now 1-year out out school, with line of sight to $300k-400k in their mid-20s. What about the other 99% of the population?

 

Like I said, salaries are higher than average roles out there. But after CoL, taxes and the prices of real estate... it is a lower amount than what I made elsewhere. That's all I am saying. I guess the correct wording is "a banker in Toronto would be able to afford a normal life, but would be able to afford so much more if they worked in a different location".

Most finance people I know are sharing accommodation so that one day they can move out into their own place. Not everyone gets 200K+ and not everyone gets into banking in the first place. There really aren't that many jobs.

This doesn't mean nothing works, I am in PE and in Toronto.

 

While millions of immigrants will eventually be a win for the country

yea for big business and the ruling class who imported an electorate. not great for anyone else, nor will it ever be. 

 

Yeah but at least as an American you can freely move anywhere in the US with a massive market. In Canada you’re stuck with Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. I won’t say Montreal because you have to speak French. Market is absolute shit.

 

100% agree with the sentiments echoed here. I am a graduate of Columbia business school and moved to Toronto with bulge bracket ib experience and private equity experience. I struggled to find a decent job, eventually landed at one of the big Canadian banks, which was a step down from the prestige of my first employer. I don't feel my top MBA has given me any benefit here. Yes ppl are responsive to my emails, but that's about it. Those who are most helpful to me are either Columbia alums or alum of other top MBA schools from the US. I am genuinely so depressed here. I moved here without any Canadian roots. Sorry for the rambling. But reading this post really brought me down. 

 

100% agree with the sentiments echoed here. I am a graduate of Columbia business school and moved to Toronto with bulge bracket ib experience and private equity experience. I struggled to find a decent job, eventually landed at one of the big Canadian banks, which was a step down from the prestige of my first employer. I don't feel my top MBA has given me any benefit here. Yes ppl are responsive to my emails, but that's about it. Those who are most helpful to me are either Columbia alums or alum of other top MBA schools from the US. I am genuinely so depressed here. I moved here without any Canadian roots. Sorry for the rambling. But reading this post really brought me down. 

Hey man, at least you can still get a good Poutine in Canada, right?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 

Such a shame because those cities seem like great places to live. Have a handful of relatives that live in Toronto and that seems to be their sentiment.

 

Canada isn't a real country. Same old extractive resource + real estate driven economy that has very few technologically advanced industries to promote any sort of innovation or diversification away from these boring old industries. 

 

Like I said before, at least as an American you can move around everywhere there as you have a bigger market. You think I’d be complaining about Toronto if I were an American citizen? I wouldn’t even come here to begin with.

 

As a Torontonian, the only good I have to say about this place is that there's always something fun to do on the weekend if you have friends, and the food downtown is pretty great compared to what I've had in the U.S. (west coast/south coast).  

Pay is shit, after taxes it's dog shit wrapped in cat shit, housing is shit, job opportunities are shit, politicians/leadership here make me want to blow my brains out, and it's impossible to leave because the U.S. won't really sponsor for finance jobs except for like 10 kids from Western Ivey who's parents already earn 7 figures and set them up for success super early on. 

 

For real, it’s fucking shit. Even if you go to Ivey, queens, or McGill there is not enough opportunities for everyone and everyone wants to do IB. It’s not like we have a shit load of Middle markets here, we have the big five, a few good MMs and then a bunch of shitty boutiques that are barely investment banks. It’s fucking shit.

 

I feel intra company transfers are pretty common out of Canada Ie move to a Canadian company's US office on L1, and then ask them to apply for your h1b once you're there. Once you're on h1b, you kind of have 6 years to move to a diff employer (because of the NAFTA agreement). When I was at CBS for MBA, Canadian , Mexican and Australian citizens didn't really face as tough a time with recruiting as other non US citizens 

 

I feel intra company transfers are pretty common out of Canada Ie move to a Canadian company's US office on L1, and then ask them to apply for your h1b once you're there. Once you're on h1b, you kind of have 6 years to move to a diff employer (because of the NAFTA agreement). When I was at CBS for MBA, Canadian , Mexican and Australian citizens didn't really face as tough a time with recruiting as other non US citizens 

While possible, there is no requirement to go from L to H1b. You can go straight to the green card if the sponsor is willing to do so.
In fact, H1b is a lottery also for people coming from L, unless they are cap exempt or have gotten it before.
No immigration attorney would go from L (secure spot to be) to around 30% chance of winning in the H1b pool.

Also, all Canadian citizens should qualify for the TN visa (some finance roles qualify for TN).

 

Yeah man, this is the exact reason why I'm changing my degree from Finance to Statistics. Gonna try to keep my GPA as high as possible then go the States for a financial engineering master's and try to get in MM hedge funds. I literally don't get why Canada isn't the richest country in the world. We have the resources, we have every single commodity that would make us rich af but here we are lol. I mean, we couldn't even capitalize on LNG shipments to Europe when Europeans stopped buying gas from Russians, why? Because we don't even have LNG terminal at the eastern part of the country. While on the other hand Americans capitalized on this and made shit load of money, hell a stock I pitched last year(GLOP) grew over 100%, lol.

 
wallsarebig

Yeah man, this is the exact reason why I'm changing my degree from Finance to Statistics. Gonna try to keep my GPA as high as possible then go the States for a financial engineering master's and try to get in MM hedge funds. I literally don't get why Canada isn't the richest country in the world. We have the resources, we have every single commodity that would make us rich af but here we are lol. I mean, we couldn't even capitalize on LNG shipments to Europe when Europeans stopped buying gas from Russians, why? Because we don't even have LNG terminal at the eastern part of the country. While on the other hand Americans capitalized on this and made shit load of money, hell a stock I pitched last year(GLOP) grew over 100%, lol.

I actually don't know. We should be using our fossil fuels/precious metal/lumber resources now to finance the transition to renewable energy and be a leader in those industries, positioning the country for success in 2040-2060. 

STONKS
 

Pay to hours balance at the big banks is garbage. The US banks, probably much better in pay but hours are brutal. 

You don't come to Toronto to build a global career in a tier 1 city. For that, take the hour long flight south. We don't compare to NY/London and to think along those lines is absolutely silly. 

Come here for a career with the right mix of hustle and WLB, more skewed to WLB. To do that, avoid the banks. My comp is not that far below my peers at the big 5, and my hours are probably 3/4 in a bad week. 

Find a good boutique / independent (there are a bunch), take the cut in pay but also the massive massive cut in hours, and live the life. 

 

I worked at a boutique hours were very good, pay was way below industry average but learned a lot.

 

There is a lot less bureaucracy at the "non-elite" boutiques. We spend far less time on what I like to call "the fat" and there are fewer layers of bureaucracy. Some examples:

- My valuation committee is two people. A lot of times it's less a drilling and more a fireside chat. It's intense but not as demanding as when I was at a BB. The same two MDs are also my fairness committee. While it has a lot more rigor than ValCom, it's nowhere near the level of intensity, and the demands are a lot less than a BB

- Our pitches are no more than 10-15 slides. Super focused, very on message and straight to the point. Our philosophy is if you can't pitch it in 10 slides, you don't have enough conviction behind the idea in the first place. The only things I take to intro meetings for example, are a shelf creds book, a notebook and pen. At my old gig, the worst example is a 50 slide deck ranging from "views on value" to "views on cost of capital" and everything in between

- All our big wins are on strength of relationship, not depth of pitch materials

- We don't do barrages of market updates, sector updates, M&A updates and all the other weekly/monthly/quarterly things that were regular at my old gig. If clients want a market update, we hop on the phone and maybe I'll bring along a sector analyst

You are absolutely correct in that there are no more than a handful of boutiques worth working for here if you still want to do quality deals and deal with good clients. Maybe 4-5, nowhere near a dozen.

 

I don't think people have a personal problem with Toronto, it is a great city. Vibe, people, culture - they all check out. You can have a ton of fun in this place and I will miss Canada once I leave (in the process of doing so).

But, if you invest a big portion of your young life to craft a career in finance here - you will probably not succeed. People are just venting out of frustration.

Toronto sounds "bigger" than it is - it is not a city that plays on the same level as NYC or London. And it never will.

Like others have said above, Toronto is a great place for people who want a "normal" job, with a "normal" income to build a regular life. Nothing wrong with this. Especially if they plan on staying in the country in the long run instead of "hitting it and leave" (making big bucks quickly and return home).

This particular forum and industry niche is hit hard also, because other areas of finance aren't entirely bad.
Where would a Canadian IB land all the deals from? Surely not the US, because they have their own banks. They can't deal with EU deals either, because they have their own folks and brands for that.

20-30 years from now Canada will be an entirely different country. The recent immigrants will have married and created families. More people have joined them. There will be new cities. New companies. And there will be the chance to create a Canadian M&A landscape that is bigger than what there is today.

Until then - it will just not be as big.

 

You nailed it. When you’re young, and frustrated that you’ve invested 4 years of schooling here, done the work, only to see that two fucking banks are hiring is frustrating. Meanwhile you go to hoolihan lokey’s US offices and they’re hiring for 25 different fucking positions. That’s just one bank alone that has more IB offerings in one time than Canada will have. It’s that much of a difference. Even if you’re average in the US you will still break into some kind of shop, whether it’s a Mm, regional boutique, etc. here there’s nothing. Like fucking nothing. You have the big five, which took an MBA from Columbia with BB experience to scrape in from what you’ve said, BB banks that barely hire, a few respectable MMs like eight Capital, Haywood, and for cormork. But that’s it. You’re so limited and it makes breaking into a big five feel like breaking into fucking Goldman sachs. In the states, I’ve seen fucking guys from average Masters programs break into investment banks that are respectable. It’s like, fuck I’m in the wrong place.

I don’t hate Canada, I love this country, I think there is bullshit in the US that isn’t talked about enough — the degenerate ways of thinking down south, with Fox News and CNN shoved so far up almost everyone’s assholes is a problem. I am just talking strictly banking here. It sucks and I’m down.

 

I work in PE in Toronto and certainly make higher comp than I would in London (even factoring in cost of living). Obviously a bit of a haircut to NY but relative to basically any other hub comp is certainly competitive (ignoring the shit tier firms). Is the high finance realm of opportunities massively smaller than London or NY? Of course. Is it difficult to break in without going to a top undergrad in Canada or relevant experience in Canada or NY? Yes as well. But the whining in this thread from people that feel entitled to a banking job in the face of the first prospective sustained economic/hiring slowdown in a decade makes me laugh

 

OP - presume you have a current job in IB and just looking to lateral. just be grateful you're at least in the industry and reaping in much better than your average joe on the street. the problem you're describing it is just current economic-related events and a factor of supply and demand dynamics in the competitive finance industry

 

Hey, I'm in the same position as you. Are you graduating? The Toronto (or just Canada) market is pretty shit, literally nowhere is hiring. If they do then they are only looking for 3-5+ years experienced hires. No firms is hiring for junior roles, that pretty sucks. DM me if you wanna talk tho

 

I’ve graduated and I’m working right now. Ended up getting my current role through chance, so I agree that the market is pure trash. How are things on your end?

 

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