Switching from Private Banking to Investment Banking

bluebarracuda's picture
Rank: Chimp | 10

Hello ,

First time poster. How hard would it be to switch from the private banking ultra high net worth division of a BB to the investment banking division? Is it doable? I have used the search function for this question but I have not found any clear answers.

Thank you in advance,

Big B.

Comments (55)

Aug 11, 2010

I would also like to know about this

Aug 11, 2010

i cannot speak from experience but unless you make that career switch via an MBA i don't see much reason why any bank's IBD should hire you. what skills do you bring to the table that are any good there? at what stage of your career are you planning to make that switch btw?
question is also whether its a wise move. i mean PB is a long-term relationship business that starts paying off after you've build and looked after your own client list for a number of years. leaving early would mean that you did all that work before for nothing since the big payoffs only come after your AUM are huge and you have hopefully guided your clients to financial success over the years.

Aug 11, 2010

Is is possible? Yes. Is it likely? Depends on...

  1. Internships. Do you have tranferable skills from your internships that will help you in IB.
  2. What type of IB firm do you want to work at? Going to a BB IB from a BB PB is not likely. Going to a MM or Boutique IB is more likely and having that BB name on your resume will certainly help.
  3. Who do you know? As I am sure you know from working in PBing, it's all about relationships and network. That is how you get clients in PB and that is how you get your foot in the door in IB (or any job for that matter).

I've been trying to make this move myself and I've had some bites, but it hasn't been easy.

Good luck.

Aug 11, 2010
tan86:

Is is possible? Yes. Is it likely? Depends on...

  1. Internships. Do you have tranferable skills from your internships that will help you in IB.
  2. What type of IB firm do you want to work at? Going to a BB IB from a BB PB is not likely. Going to a MM or Boutique IB is more likely and having that BB name on your resume will certainly help.
  3. Who do you know? As I am sure you know from working in PBing, it's all about relationships and network. That is how you get clients in PB and that is how you get your foot in the door in IB (or any job for that matter).

I've been trying to make this move myself and I've had some bites, but it hasn't been easy.

Good luck.

ur still in private banking so i guess its pretty hard

Aug 11, 2010

I think moving from the PB at a BB to the IBD at that same BB is possible and more feasible than moving from the PB to IBD at another bank or boutique.

If you want to do this though, you really have to kick ass as an analyst/intern in the PB, have a compelling story as to why you want to move to the IBD, and know a significant amount of people in the bank (HR and IBD). There's a high amount of turnover in finance, especially in the IBD. Banks would rather hire a seasoned analyst who they know is smart and knows the firm (but is in the PB) than go through the interview/recruiting process.

*I'm assuming you're looking for an analyst role

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Aug 12, 2010

On a slightly different topic (but I didn't think it was worth creating a new thread), how do PB internships compare to PWM in terms of prestige and workload? (at a BB).

Aug 12, 2010
wildcat61:

On a slightly different topic (but I didn't think it was worth creating a new thread), how do PB internships compare to PWM in terms of prestige and workload? (at a BB).

They're both essentially the same thing.

Aug 12, 2010

just met a goldman employee who made the switch... very doable

Aug 11, 2010

They're the same thing, just a way some banks separate $2-25M accounts with $25M accounts. Some banks, like Goldman, don't even have different divisions for the two. Regardless of whether you have $6M in assets or $600M in assets, you still may need a mortgage, trust services, may be interested in buying an equity or fx structure, etc.

I will say that there is a difference between being a "financial advisor" or broker at UBS, Merrill, Morgan Stanley, Steifel Nicols (or however its spelled) etc,. At these shops you're essentially a retail broker, selling mutual funds and other retail products to people.

Nov 28, 2012

I would like to understand the move made by the Goldman's employee to IB from PB. It appears very difficult as being a PB myself i feel your skills are not transferable as what you have is; relationship management qualities and networking skills, that's all. Usually i get investment managers to manage assets under a discretionary portfolio and keep myself more employed in bringing new business.
If there is a probability to move to IB anyhow, what is that probability and how exactly it should be done?

any thoughts or comments will be appreciated.

DBS79

Nov 29, 2012

How can you expect anyone tell you the probability? I'll just say that the chances are low if you're a summer intern but doable. If you're already a fulltime employee, there are 0 transferable skills and your chances are extremely low, probably same chances as someone moving from back office to IBD.

Nov 28, 2012

So, basically, there is no way you could move from pb to ib? i'll give you a bit of background and see if you could unravel something. after completing my MBA in finance, i immediately started working for a private bank as a intern and then gradually progressed to RM and then a Associate Director to Senior Private Banker as of now. this has taken 9 years. though it has provided me experience but i have never been able to establish a large book of clients. though i know a lot of people in the market but it never transpired to a big business. however in the last 2 years i have come across some very good clients and are prepared to do business with me. currently im looking out for another opportunity as my bank has started doing restructuring and are downsizing. in the interim, i feel is it really something i could achieve success in or iam just doing it because i have always been in this industry? that question i cannot answer somehow. i like meeting people and socializing and dining with them. i sometimes feel that the platform i have worked on is not right and had it been a proper private banking platform i could achieve something. but there is a doubt in my mind as i have already spent like 9 years and there is nothing material and have not made a single penny in bonus so far.

Maybe its time to look at developing other skills?

if not PB then what?

DBS79

Nov 29, 2012
DBS79:

So, basically, there is no way you could move from pb to ib? i'll give you a bit of background and see if you could unravel something. after completing my MBA in finance, i immediately started working for a private bank as a intern and then gradually progressed to RM and then a Associate Director to Senior Private Banker as of now. this has taken 9 years. though it has provided me experience but i have never been able to establish a large book of clients. though i know a lot of people in the market but it never transpired to a big business. however in the last 2 years i have come across some very good clients and are prepared to do business with me. currently im looking out for another opportunity as my bank has started doing restructuring and are downsizing. in the interim, i feel is it really something i could achieve success in or iam just doing it because i have always been in this industry? that question i cannot answer somehow. i like meeting people and socializing and dining with them. i sometimes feel that the platform i have worked on is not right and had it been a proper private banking platform i could achieve something. but there is a doubt in my mind as i have already spent like 9 years and there is nothing material and have not made a single penny in bonus so far.

Maybe its time to look at developing other skills?

if not PB then what?

This is the time for you to be brutally honest with yourself. As far as I'm concerned, you should throw the idea of going into investment banking out the window.

After 9 years as a broker, you should either be doing well or have already left. Normally, this happens much faster than it happened with you.

These are the sorts of questions I would start getting good answers to immediately:

Why is it you haven't been as successful in PB as you would have liked? Do you not like selling? Are you good at servicing clients, but not acquiring them?

What are you very good at doing? Where is that skill in demand?

Why are you leaving now and not earlier? Why are you limiting yourself to the financial sector? How many clients would move assets with you to a new job?

And all questions like this.

Depending on some of your answers, I might have some ideas for you in the financial sector.

Nov 28, 2012

I have to brutally honest and i agree what you say. As i don't know ABC about IB and only heard about all the intellectual work being done therefore im more interested and inclined to gather more information. Now, as you say i should completely through the option out of the window, it makes me think twice whether or not i should even start exploring any options. Don't know.

The chain of private banking started when i was hired to do cold calling and arrange meetings for my business head and i had to do that for good 3 years until i was made responsible for managing some of the book left by him when he moved out of the bank. Someone else came in and he was given half the book. The organisation was extremely brutally bureaucratic and everything was about the unit manager, if anyone keeps him happy he gets the book and he gets the credits, can't bear that. So, i was frustrated and i decided to leave the organisation and join somewhere more entrepreneurial which gives me freedom to do my own business my way. Though it was too early for me to do that as i had not gained momentum in the business and not gathered and made much contacts but i still went ahead and did that as it was entrepreneurial. Spent 3.5 years with the bank there and established a decent book which was about to generate at least $500k in revenues per year easily. But that's when things started going in a wrong way for the bank because of the Greek exposure and i had to leave because of unavoidable circumstances. Therefore had to leave the small book which now obviously someone else is enjoying. Thereafter, got an opportunity to setup a desk from the scratch for the business this bank was starting for the first time, again very entrepreneurial and flexible which made me very much inclined. But within 8 months things started changing, the bank was acquired by the guys from middle east and they disbanded the desk completely and my position along with others was removed. Though i established a decent book again within 8 months and left revenue for the bank of about $400k to be made each year, still i do not get anything. I feel maybe it was unfortunate but then i also question myself is it my fault?
Now, the situation is whether i doubt my own capabilities or say i was unfortunate and keep going forward and try once again with a bank which is more stable and entrepreneurial?

With regard to questions about my being successful in PB, i don't know, i know a lot of people, but maybe the above reason clarifies why i was not successful. I like selling but diligent selling, i don't like to push like retail style, my clients appreciate that i give them time and that i don't product push them and let them decide what needs to be done. I'm good at acquiring clients and initiating relationships and establishing relationships. But I'm not good at forceful closure of deal when the client takes too much time and i keep lingering around all the time. I'm good at meeting new people and initiating contacts and meet prospects and explore options without being shy or embarrassed. What i don't like is pushing someone to do business.

I don't know if any of the things i do is a skill. I have a good network of prospects and clients. You asked why am i leaving now and not earlier, i never stopped of looking outside the box. I thought i was meant to do this and that once i have a decent book i can obviously be stable. My clients would like to explore options with me wherever i move but the inclination is towards real estate now and rather than investment management as cash is drying out in the current market environment.

I don't wish to limit myself to any sector, i like financial services and i feel inclined towards it from the very beginning. If there is anything else i could do i would do but what is it that i can do?

DBS79

Nov 29, 2012

Have you looked into things like sales or client service at an asset manager or hedge fund? If you are good at building relationships, those could be decent options. They're a bit more structured at some of the larger firms than most private wealth positions. It's still sales though, so that may or may not work for you.

Another idea I have is to look into investment consulting (places like Cambridge or Wilshire). Those jobs are about finding institutional clients who want help with asset allocation and which managers they should use, given their spending requirements. Seems like you have some background for that, although I don't know anything about the recruiting process at a place like that.

No matter where you go, you need to learn how to close if you stay in sales. Somehow, you need to find a mentor who knows how to close without coming across as a used car salesman. There are plenty of people out there like that.

Nov 28, 2012

Thank you for the comment. i will look into the Asset Management and Hedge Fund Sales and Client Services.
i have a feeling that it's not a very lucrative career from the brief research on Google but like any other career it will obviously take time to make it lucrative.

I'm happy to close the transactions now as compared to 2 years back when i could not, so no problems there now.

i want to get a feedback from you based upon whatever information i have provided about the background and the experience.

My dilemma will remain for sometime, until i find a platform i can stay for longer and see my performance. i had a one to one with a close friend and he advised that the reason you were not able to build a book was because you were not able to stay at one place for about 5 years or so, had it been the case then we wouldn't be having this discussion. In order to be successful in private banking and cultivate a big book its crucial to stay longer at one place which apparently was not the case with me.

i think he was very right, maybe the next place i get to i could last for a long time and develop a book.

relationship building and networking, i think i have it and i want to develop other skills so as to be able to utilize myself elsewhere if required.

i think maybe im trying to reinstate the confidence back by writing to you but don't know if that's what iam doing or iam fooling myself back into another misery?

DBS79

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Nov 28, 2012

I am desperately looking for an alternative career away from Private Banking

Please advise what I could do

Many thanks

DBS79

Nov 11, 2014

While I am not familiar with JPM's internal transfer policy, private banking is pretty far from HF/PE/prop trading. Private banking does have require some analytical skills, but it is much more about winning retail relationships. I think you would be better off trying to go into an Asset Management firm if you can't get straight to a HF/PE/Prop etc.

Nov 11, 2014

I appreciate your response sir. This isn't for a full time gig however, I didn't clarify that I'm talking SA positions. I've always tried to get into IBD, even though I have no interest in doing that work. I've just been told it's the easiest path to the buyside.

Nov 11, 2014

I think very difficult unless you find a very small HF start-up so desperate they'll take in anyone to do the donkey work.

(i) As someone already alluded to, PB analysts are a joke compared to what IB and HF analysts do.

(ii) School name. Sorry, fact of life, this matters.

If you're from a mediocre school in Oregon and can get a foot in the door in a PB, thank your God, do your best to get something there, save up enough money, in a few years do a masters at a big name school then think about moving.

But i'll tell you this.. it's really not what it's cracked up to be.

My uncle was a career private banker and he really had a very, very good life. Made a ton, lived a james bond lifestyle partying with clients in yachts and casinos, etc.

The IB and HF people (myself included) generally deal with very, very high stress and for the bulk of us, a good PB can still easily match what most of us make post commission.

Nov 11, 2014

not sure if anyone above knows what they're talking about at all. I know for a fact that these two guys are in PB at one of the major firms (think US trust/JPM/CS/DB/GS) and will be able to help if they respond.

@"rogersterling59" @"AcctNerd"

Nov 11, 2014
thebrofessor:

not sure if anyone above knows what they're talking about at all.

You made me lol :D

Nov 11, 2014

Thanks for all the responses guys. I pushed back my graduation a year, and added another degree in math and a minor in economics. I did this purposely to get another internship. I'm not talk about starting a career in PB, but using it to try and network my way into a different internship next year, or something among those lines.

Thanks for all the responses, and thank you brofessor for tagging those two people who work in PB.

Nov 11, 2014

It isn't impossible to transfer internally with most banks, however, where you start with the bank will determine where you can go. I doubt you'll be able to switch from PB to ANY other position after just a year on the job. Most switching I have seen has come after 3 years or more in a place.

I would take the PB interview and suggest that you are also willing to explore other opportunities at their bank. If you are a candidate with the right qualities/grades/etc., then it should be easier to get interviews in a different part of the bank.

@"thebrofessor" is right in that most of those other folks are out to lunch. PB analysts are not idiots as many would have you believe. As with IB, working in the PB is a lifestyle more than just a job. I often see our analysts working on the weekend, late into the night, and they do some pretty technical analysis.

Think about it like this: What is the difference between a family that is worth $400mm and a business that is worth $400mm? Just the tax return. The issues are complicated, the needs are complicated, the pressure to perform is the same.

At the end of the day working in private wealth isn't as stressful as IB, but why would that be a bad thing? Why do so many people think giving up your life in your 20s makes you some sort of business martyr?

If you like PB go PB. I happen to love it.

Sorry for the rant.

Nov 11, 2014

AcctNerd,

Thank you very much for you response, I really appreciate hearing from someone in the industry. I'm 100% taking the interview, it's already scheduled and coming within the week.

Thanks again man.

Nov 11, 2014
Nov 11, 2014

I'll allow it in the first paragraph, since he's talking about moving from the Private Banking Division to the Investment Banking DIVISION.

Yellow card on the second usage though :)

Nov 11, 2014

Ok, going back to the topic - do banks recruit grads with a year of experience elsewhere?

Thanks,

Nov 11, 2014

From my experience they recruit more from colleges and b-schools. That being said, they often take analysts/associates with prior banking experience from other IBs.

If if don't make dollars, it don't make sense.

Nov 11, 2014

They are two very different things and I dont think the jump would be that easy.
I would say work in private banking for a couple of years than go back to school.

Aug 12, 2010

It seems that post-MBA is your best bet. It's good that it's still banking experience.

Nov 11, 2014

I think it's hella easy

Nov 11, 2014

Depends of the bank. Generally speaking though, if you're impressive enough during the summer + networking + some luck, definitely not impossible.

Nov 11, 2014

That's pretty much saying to the op anything is possible.

Op be sure to ask the pb guys I there is anyone of their client with massive concentrated equity position - like a
CEO .' stock comp position... You can then spawn little valuation side projects off that to at least serve u as talking point... Also get super quantitative regarding any private holdings they may have
I guess recurring theme is make sure to do some real modeling. I think ultimately the easier lateral will be to some non quant inst sales gig like cash equities or perhaps networking with asset mgmt since that's likely ur division anyways if ur at a bb right?

If ur keen on doing any buyside work at all then I think the last suggestion is most relevant and potentially easiest to execute since hr structure shared in pwm and am

Nov 11, 2014

Have you thought about networking with the JPM IBD peeps in Dallas? Maybe consider adding Houston to your list if you have interest in O&G IBD.

    • 1
Nov 11, 2014

Definitely a good idea, thanks for that tip. Planning on setting up a few meetings here and there but also want to be cautious about stepping over boundaries from an internal standpoint. Frankly (and none of this matters to anybody expect me) but I've lived in Dallas my whole life so definitely interested if opportunities in other cities were available like San Fran, Chicago, LA, and NY. Realizing those are major markets tho and I would need to be on my A game, what do I need to work on in the 1 year left in my current analyst program to not only be up to speed but set myself apart.

Nov 11, 2014

San Fran and LA interest me the most, but I am aware that the industries for IB may be more selective (tech, entertainment, etc). Needless to say, should I focus on maximizing the skills I've learned in PB and emphasize hard work ethic and what I currently have or should I focus on learning everything and anything IB to land with a strong firm.

Nov 11, 2014

Would expansion areas like those in California be worth taking a look at?

Nov 11, 2014

curious as well!

Nov 11, 2014

B school and then jump in as an associate would be the easiest move I think

Nov 11, 2014

Definitely considering that but wanted to take advantage of my current positions value and being in the market with regards to the mentioned mobility opportunities, any advice on how to begin preparing and how to best make the transition?

Nov 11, 2014
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