Where do people go that are laid off mid-career?

chestnutxyz's picture
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 637

Due to my lack of knowing many experienced traders I wonder what happens to those who start and get laid off after 4-7 years, or even longer, for those that make it to 32/33 and due to one reason or another get cut, what sort of career options are available to them? I'd hate to go back to school to become a teacher or something at that point.

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Comments (22)

Oct 18, 2016

Trader = high risk / high reward career choice. if you flame out before making big $$....thats the high risk part of your career.

Oct 18, 2016
ironnchef:

Trader = high risk / high reward career choice. if you flame out before making big $$....thats the high risk part of your career.

Where do those that flame out end up going? Seems wise to analyze both sides of the coin, can't be blindly optimistic.

Oct 18, 2016
chestnutxyz:

ironnchef:Trader = high risk / high reward career choice. if you flame out before making big $$....thats the high risk part of your career.

Where do those that flame out end up going? Seems wise to analyze both sides of the coin, can't be blindly optimistic.

lots of different places. here are a few that i know of off the top of my head
-stats mgmt for baseball teams...kinda like moneyball
-MBA and go into mgmt
-compliance & risk management
-become a teacher
-trade your own money in a retail trading account like TDAmeritrade ThinkorSwim or InteractiveBrokers, where you keep 100%
-go into accounting
-goto med school
-become a broker
-go into sales
-become a developer for startup tech company
-etc....

Oct 18, 2016
ironnchef:

chestnutxyz: ironnchef:Trader = high risk / high reward career choice. if you flame out before making big $$....thats the high risk part of your career.Where do those that flame out end up going? Seems wise to analyze both sides of the coin, can't be blindly optimistic.

lots of different places. here are a few that i know of off the top of my head-stats mgmt for baseball teams...kinda like moneyball-MBA and go into mgmt-compliance & risk management-become a teacher-trade your own money in a retail trading account like TDAmeritrade ThinkorSwim or InteractiveBrokers, where you keep 100%-go into accounting-goto med school-become a broker-go into sales-become a developer for startup tech company-etc....

Guess I should up my 401k contribution from 12% to 15%. Gotta save for when times aren't as great.

Getting an MBA and go into corp. management, how typical of a path is this for former sales and traders?

Oct 18, 2016

Is M&A Investment Banking similar?

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Oct 22, 2016

No. With trading, your 'resume' is your PnL, so if you got let go because you weren't making enough, then it's harder to find another firm to take you on since they've seen your track record. Conversely, with M&A IB, your resume are deals you closed / worked on as a team. Even if the deal wasn't a good one in retrospect for your client, you're not going to get dinged on that. You get the credit for the knowledge and experience you gained from working on / completing the transaction and being able to talk to it. So unless you've shown a consistent pattern of not being able to move up from say associate to VP even after a lateral or two, you should be able to find something else (pending market conditions).

Skill sets you pick up in investment banking are also broader so there are more general applications as opposed to trading. This then translates to a wider variety of alternative routes.

Oct 23, 2016

I think it has more to do with your later point than former. It really boils down to skillset. IB has such a broad skill set (finance, strategy, project management, people management, transactions, etc.). This skill set can be applied to a variety of roles at a variety of companies (IR, FP&A, CorpDev, etc.). Sales/trading is so niche it doesn't really translate to many other sectors, especially if you trade some nuanced / esoteric things. Its a much harder sell to go corporate after sales and trading than IB - thus limiting options.

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Oct 24, 2016

I should clarify my first paragraph is really approaching the question of "how hard is it for someone to return to the same or very similar profession after a layoff". With that, I think if you lost your job due to the bank cutting back, but you still had a good record and other firms are still trading what you are, you can find something. But if you didn't have a good PnL track record, and also if whatever you're trading is rather specific/nuanced, it'd be harder to find a similar role elsewhere. Conversely, with M&A or IB in general, unless it's obvious you're stalling at a title (4th yr associate... 4-5th yr VP), you should be able to lateral to another bank provided that firms are hiring. And as a junior / mid-level banker, you can still change industries. Real estate and FIG are rather specific (energy and mining to a lesser extent), but generally speaking the fundamentals are the same; it's not hard to pick up.

But absolutely agree - to change careers in general, IB provides a broad and useful skillset of all the things you've mentioned, and they open up to a lot of opportunities.

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Oct 21, 2016

Bump

Oct 22, 2016

They get a job trading with a competitor.

    • 1
Oct 23, 2016

They get taken out back and shot.

In all seriousness though, layoffs happen, and most employers understand that to a degree. I've had plenty of bosses who've been laid off from previous jobs and ended up in the same role at another firm. Granted I don't work in trading, but I imagine it's largely similar.

Oct 24, 2016

Most likely they end up at a regional broker-dealer

Oct 25, 2016

It all depends:

If you are at GS/MS/JPM etc and you lose your job because of cuts?
They typically wait it out 6mnths to 1yr, and head back to another GS/MS/JPM etc

If you are at GS/MS/JPM etc and you lose your job because performance?
They head to a reputable European Bank or a 2nd tier shop.

If you are already at a European Bank or a 2nd tier shop?
They head to a less reputable shop.

If you are already at a less reputable shop?
Head to a regional or an interdealer broker.

A few may be able to pivot into am AM role that is much more execution - but even these type of positions are difficult to land. HF were traditionally the preferred alternative, but they guys have cut (WAAAY) back hiring sellside traders- let alone those who were laid off..

Outside of that, i've seen several guys work at electronic broker shops as salesmen. A ton also head to compliance or some type of risk work. Bschool and industry are remote options at best.

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Feb 7, 2019

deleted

Feb 10, 2019

you're still young at 32/33, will have plenty of options. if youre even 40-50 different story. your seat becomes expensive and your options may be less limited if you can't justify your salary

Feb 10, 2019

and for those in the 40-50 bucket....what are their options..realistically?

just google it...you're welcome

Feb 11, 2019

Dumb question. A tenth tier bucket shop is loaded with at a minimum big ten grads up to Harvard Mbas. So theirs always some kind of exit plan.

Realistically if you last until that age you should have some money put away. The guys I see in that spot either saved and are doing small business/entrepreneurship, married well, real estate. The lower class worked their way into a director level position in a medium sized business. For the crushed it crowd I've seen 2-5 years in an Israeli seminary. Burn out can be real at 35 in trading. Some went to Lower middle market pe.

Jobs with the exchanges are fairly common. 10% go there. 10% go into bitcoin but that seems delusional. Under 33 crowd lots go mba.

The business isn't filled with the kinds of people exiting 15 years ago. Educational level is in the top 3% of society so it's just a matter of figuring it out.

Array
Feb 11, 2019

more realistic question. Excel VBA programmer who via the side door got a trading seat at a BB for a few years but never made much money...lost all savings after getting laid off...can't get a trading seat in the BB or anywhere else now...and VBA programming no longer as "special" as it was 10 years ago.

what are career options?

just google it...you're welcome

Feb 11, 2019

In that case if they want to go back to programming type stuff then likely retrain. Either online things or a coding boot camp.

Array
Feb 13, 2019

Coding boot camp, and network as hard as possible while you're there.

Feb 11, 2019
    • 1
Feb 14, 2019