Every now and again, a meme pops up that cries out to have its head chopped off. The latest such idiocy: People leaving finance to find more “fulfilling” work.

I noticed this over the past week when several such articles hit my inbox: The first I saw was a sincere discussion by Mathbabe explaining why she was happy having left finance; the next was a wholly disingenuous exit tale about Chelsea Clinton leaving a hedge fund for that “Career With Meaning.”

There may be underlying elements of truth in each of these tales, but they are undercut by lots of self-rationalization. Before we get to that, let’s look at two key elements that put this into broader context:

The first is the multi-decade “Financialization” of the US economy. Over a 30+ year period, that financialization led to excess salaries, enormous bonuses, and a huge number of people flowing into Wall Street who otherwise would never give finance a second glance. (Nassim Taleb calls this “mis-financialization”) I do not in anyway want to discourage the people who are now leaving finance – especially those of you who are here for the wrong reasons. Please, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

For the rest of you, let’s delve deeper.

Exactly what do we mean by Financialization? It is the process by which Finance as a sector that was previously serving other industries and individuals had morphed into an industry serving mostly itself. In the US, financialization was accompanied by 1) a significant elevation of finance that 2) a dramatic increase in overall debt, systemic leverage leading to 3) broad transfers of revenue and profits from the “real” economy to the financial sector and 4) a significantly greater policy influence by Wall Street bankers (as well as capital markets). This culminated in 5) the credit crisis and 6) TARP and the Wall Street bailouts of 2008-09.

 


Source: Peakwatch

 

We can debate the details, but speaking broadly, this came about due to the combination of massive financial leverage, increased corporate debt, decreased cost of capital, and regulatory capture by the industry. The net result of this was finance became an outsized portion of the S&P500 profits, rising from 12% to 23% over a few decades. Bill Black points out that over forty years, “our real economy grew better with a financial sector that received one-twentieth as large a percentage of total profits (2%) than does the current financial sector (40%).”

 


Source: Macroman

 

The net result of all this was an enormous amount of money sloshing through the sector – and a huge influx of people into the sector. Many came for the money, and later rationalized they were here for “purer” reasons. The competition for talent – primarily in mathematics and computer science but also in academia, sales and other fields – was fierce. Bonuses became enormous. Finance drew too many people from these other areas who harbored dreams of avarice.

Consider for a moment the BusinessWeek article about Chelsea Clinton. She was hired as 26 year old by Avenue Capital Group, a NY hedge fund whose founders had ties to the Democratic party. Why? Was it because she would eventually get a Master’s degree in public health from Columbia University?

No. She was hired because her father was the former President of the United States. Gee, why wouldn’t that be personally fulfilling and meaningful?

I have only a touch more sympathy for the story Cathy O’Neil, a former D. E. Shaw analyst and now blogging as the mathbabe, tells. She left her hedge fund finance job, and is now working at a start-up. This I find to be rather ironic: The grab for the brass ring is still there, only instead of enormous salary and bonuses, the payoff comes when the start-up finds an exit strategy through being acquired or going public. I expect to read a sad “Leaving a start-up” post in 3 years, complaining about the insanely long hours, deeply unfilling work, and the unreasonable demands of their Venture Capitalists.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

The bottom line is that if you came to finance for the vast riches, you are here for the wrong reason. You might as well join the NBA and hope to be the next Michael Jordan.

The personal ruin of the people who came to finance, leveraged up and are now suffering is tragic. It is the high rent version of the sub-prime borrowers who got in over their heads.

There are lots of reasons to work in finance, but if your prime motivation is money, what happens when the money slows or even stops? Many of these are the folks now exiting stage left. They came to pan for gold, and left when the vein ran dry.

Good riddance, I say.

 

 

Sources:
Chelsea Clinton Exited Wall Street to Seek Career With Meaning
Lindsey Rupp
BusinessWeek, October 03, 2012
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-03/chelsea-clinton-exited-wall-street-to-seek-career-with-meaning

Telling people to leave finance
MathBabe September 30, 2012
http://mathbabe.org/2012/09/30/telling-people-to-leave-finance/

Banks should learn to say “Just Go”
Hugo Dixon 
Reuters, September 24, 2012
http://blogs.reuters.com/hugo-dixon/2012/09/24/hugo-dixon-banks-should-learn-to-say-just-go/

 

Previously:
Advice to a Young Market Participant (March 5th, 2010)

How Hard is it to Become the Michael Jordan of Trading?  (July 14th, 2011)

 

Further Reading:
Those of you who want to explore the concept of Financialization have a number of books

Kevin Philips, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism

Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History

Michael Hudson, The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America–and Spawned a Global Crisis

Dylan Ratigan, Greedy Bastards: How We Can Stop Corporate Communists, Banksters, and Other Vampires from Sucking America Dry

John Authers, The Fearful Rise of Markets: Global Bubbles, Synchronized Meltdowns, and How To Prevent Them in the Future

Category: Markets, Philosophy, Really, really bad calls, Wages & Income

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

45 Responses to “The New Nonsense: Leaving Finance”

  1. BennyProfane says:

    As though Chelsea Clinton would have a hard time getting a job in any industry these days.

  2. denim says:

    “They came to pan for gold, and left when the vein ran dry.”

    “Anonymous said…
    A “giant suction pump” ”

    Quoting the wisdom of Mariner Eccles, 1935 Fed Chairman:

    “…But Eccles had also come to understand, after watching the great speculative bubbles of the 1920s pop into massive misery, that prosperity — to endure — needs to be shared. Eccles began speaking out on that theme, shortly after the Great Depression began, and soon caught the attention of the early New Dealers.
    In 1933, Eccles would become an assistant secretary of the treasury. A year later, Franklin Roosevelt would appoint him to the Federal Reserve Board. He would become Board chair in 1935 and remain in that central position for the next 13 years. No one individual, over those years, had more of an impact on economic policy in the United States.
    Looking back on those years, in his 1951 memoir Beckoning Frontiers, Eccles would do his best to explain the impact he set out to make. Mass production, he noted at the outset, demands mass consumption, but people can’t afford to consume if the wealth an economy generates is concentrating at the top.
    In the years leading up to the Great Depression, that concentrating was accelerating. A “giant suction pump,” charged Eccles, “had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth.”
    “In consequence, as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands,” Eccles observed, “the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped.”
    Sound familiar? The decade of the 1920s that Eccles describes in his 1951 memoir comes across today as eerily familiar. Then as now, the U.S. economy was floating on a sea of debt.
    Then as now, inequality was hollowing out the nation. Eccles put the matter bluntly: “Had there been a better distribution of the current income from the national product — in other words, had there been less savings by business and the higher-income groups and more income in the lower groups — we should have had far greater stability in our economy.””
    http://econ.economicshelp.org/2008/10/causes-of-great-depression.html

    We needed Eccles, FDR, and a cooperating Congress. What you see is what we got…

  3. dead hobo says:

    BR opined:

    There are lots of reasons to work in finacne, but if your prime motivation is money, what happens when the money slows or even stops? Many of these are the folks now exiting stage left. They came to pan for gold, and left when the vein ran dry.

    reply:
    ———
    On one side, you see the advisers who teach otherwise nice but financially incompetent people how to set up budgets and save. They charge for this service but many people benefit over and above the cost.

    On the other side you see the insurance salesmen who never saw a financial product you didn’t need to buy. Once an insurance salesman (or the modern day equivalent) always an insurance salesman. They’ll be back when a new high margin product is thought up and captures people’s imagination as a get rich quick money making scheme.

    There’s probably a third group who thought they were getting a career with the responsible advisers, but ended up with the carnivores. They’re probably the ones leaving in disgust.

    ~~~

    BR: I’m not convinced that is the group that is leaving

  4. farmera1 says:

    Remember Jamie Dimon’s (of JP Morgan fame) $6 billion trading loss earlier this year. Ina Drew took the fall and left the financial industry, sort of fits in with this subject. Have to love those unregulated derivatives. These things keep showing up over and over and play a major roll in this story. The road is littered with road kill from derivatives: Enron, LCTM, all the big investment banks that were saved (via Toxic Asset Relief Program aka TARP) with tax payer money. Those nasty little tools used to manage risk, aka weapons of mass financial destruction. But not to worry, a lot of profits were made and the bonus money was great.

    The Woman Who Took the Fall for JPMorgan Chase

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/magazine/ina-drew-jamie-dimon-jpmorgan-chase.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    “The trouble that eventually ended Drew’s career at the bank started out, the bank argues, as a precaution, the same kind of precaution, in fact, that set her on a successful career path at Chemical Bank: a major hedge against the possibility of a credit crisis.

    Back in 2007, the bank asked the London office to execute a credit derivative hedge that would protect the bank in the event of a major crisis. (Some credit derivatives are, essentially, a bet on an outcome, like a corporation or government defaulting on their financial obligations.) The hedge not only protected the bank but also made money in 2008 when the markets collapsed.”

  5. Tarkus says:

    ” Significantly greater policy influence by Wall Street and bankers as well as capital markets were a part of this”

    But with the largest banks always getting the cheapest money from the Fed, was there ever any other possible outcome?

  6. ook_boo says:

    For those of us not in finance, what would you say are good reasons to go into finance, if not for money?

    ~~~

    BR: That is worthy of a longer post, but the short version: You must like working with and for other people — think of professional service firms like lawyers and accountants as a model. You should also enjoy challenges, problem solving and like thinking about long term planning. An interest in new companies, new technologies, businesses, entrepreneurs helps also.

    You have to like working in an entrepreneurial environment. You need either a mathematical orientation, or an ability to understand probability and uncertainty. A recognition of group psychology helps.

  7. thomas hudson says:

    I was taught very early in my career a very valuable lesson. My first manager told me that the key to longevity in this business is always do what is right for the client first. You may not make as much money early in your career, but you will cultivate loyal clients who will stay with you through thick and thin. I had a client tell me last night, one that I have been working with since ’98 and just retired, that they wouldn’t have been able to do what they did without me. There are many ways to get compensated in this business, not all of them are financial.

  8. b_thunder says:

    Barry did it again, blogs it like IT IS!

    One small disagreement: BR asks “What happens when the money slows or even stops?” – The system now is set up in a way that the money never stops (Geithner, Bernanke, indefinite QE, HFT, unreserved derivatives, insane leverage, complete immunity of banks/bank execs under Holder’s DOJ.) If/when the money river to Walls St slows, it will happen only after the rest of the economy is sucked completely dry and there’s simply no more be money to be sucked out. But by that it will be so bad for the main St that in comparison Wall St Will still do better by a factor of 10 or 20

  9. Dima says:

    Barry if you love finance good for you! Why all the sour grapes about others who made a poor choice and regret it?

  10. DarthBeta says:

    Deadhobo found the string.
    There isnt any real finance in finance anymore. All that is left is bad math/stats / misinformed marketing people and outside management consultants. It is frightening to see things like commodities being inserted into 401k funds because they offer ‘inflation protection’. Or BBB Corp bonds being marketed as safer than equities for retirees. It is all about selling product not about finance. That is what people are sick of.

    ~~~

    BR: Then they better educate themselves and learn who to avoid.

  11. Julia Chestnut says:

    Interestingly, I was trapped in a waiting room yesterday with a copy of Psychology Today that had – you guessed it – an article on reliable drudgery vs. risky fulfillment. And every. single. one. of the people discussed in the article left finance. There wasn’t even a lawyer! Remember when everybody was bailing voluntarily on massive law firms? You know, back before the blood bath and all the summer programs were cancelled/scaled back.

    But give mathbabe a break. I don’t know if it’s brass ring or a need for something challenging on her part, frankly. The math in finance seems a lot less frontier than it was a decade ago, to put it kindly. Chelsea Clinton, on the other hand? Weep me a river.

    ~~~

    BR: I’m part of thar exodus from reliable drudgery at law firmz circa 1992

  12. Moss says:

    Like all parasites when the blood runs dry look for another host.

  13. tenaciousd says:

    As far as I can tell Ms. Clinton’s inherited rolodex probably ran dry after two years in finance (where apparently they let her take time to get a master’s degree), now she’s off to do good in the health care industry, which will replace real estate as the next silent partner in Wall Street’s endless pursuit of sucking Americans dry. Of course, the same rolodex that granted her entry to finance has been refreshed with Wall Street contacts and can now be re-leveraged in the sick care business. I about gagged when I read that article. The Man from a Place Called Hope now has a Daughter from a Place Called Wall Street.

  14. BennyProfane says:

    Maybe they’re all leaving finance because they can afford to. Nothing like a few bonuses in your early thirties that equal a nice comfy 55 year old’s retirement stash. I’ve met more than one ski bum out west who did this in the eighties after they followed Milken’s moves.

  15. streeteye says:

    Because applying quantitative skills to get people to click on ads is so much more socially beneficial than applying quantitative skills to help people not lose their life savings.

    The financial crisis was a debacle and an embarrassment. But it also shows that it’s not a zero sum game. If you can help people not make dumb decisions, and build a stable financial system that does the job it’s supposed to as a provider of good advice and financial intermediation, everybody wins.

    “The social objective of skilled investment should be to defeat the dark forces of time and ignorance which envelope our future.” – J. M. Keynes.

  16. Bokolis says:

    Whatever her story may be, not the first bird I’ve seen go fleeing.

    Talking about being in it for the wrong reasons, it seems that half the young birds that got into the field from (let’s say) about 2004 onwards are groupies anyway. This is not a groupie in the Tommy Lee-backstage sense, but, like one of those tennis birds- the ones** that habitually lose in he first three rounds of the majors- quasi-capable but knowing this sh!t ain’t for her and/or she’s not going to do this sh!t forever (a prerogative that men are not generally afforded), transitions out of the earning life by leveraging her position/situation to snag herself an earner, who is more than willing to carry this trophy.

    I’m sure the silver spoon set have a better term for it.

    As a stat geek who was lucky enough to live the rockstar existence- and all the eating, drinking, fucking, sucking, snorting earning and pissing away involved- in my early 20s and, having come to this party rather late (for the markets/finance, not the coke or the birds), I’m more than happy to grind it out, talk shit online squirrel away and take the (less than) occasional chance when inspired.

    ** – this excludes Russian birds, who have no soul.

  17. ben22 says:

    “On one side, you see the advisers who teach otherwise nice but financially incompetent people how to set up budgets and save. They charge for this service but many people benefit over and above the cost.

    On the other side you see the insurance salesmen who never saw a financial product you didn’t need to buy. Once an insurance salesman (or the modern day equivalent) always an insurance salesman.”

    Hobo, I hope you realize that a “financial advisor” that is doing legit work does far more than help people budget and set up a savings plan and that you are just making a post for dramatic effect.

    A real financial plan is much more than the right asset allocation. Indeed, insurance is going to be part of the discussion with any legit financial advisor/planner. Perhaps the discussion is as simple as letting people know they have enough and the right kinds of insurance. On the other hand they may be able to reduce costs, insurance could be used for estate planning purposes, they might have policies that are inappropriate or not being funded properly, and last, many folks are simply underinsured and put their family/significant others that may be dependent on them at great financial risk as a result.

    My father died unexpectedly in his early 40′s and as my parents financial advisor I was able to identify that they needed more life insurance several years before this happened. I found low cost term insurance for them from a highly rated company and my mom is financially stable today as a result.

    I’m beyond happy in this case I served as an “insurance saleseman” to them. This was not the only instance of this type of thing taking place where I’ve been directly involved.

    If people want to know if its possible for any “good” to be in finance, maybe this simple little story can serve as a basic example.

  18. ToNYC says:

    Lots of educated professionals are finding more interesting challenges when the distraction of excess cash disappears. Financial institutions are no place to check your ego at the door and solving the real problems of coming generations. Good riddance is your blessing, and all that can be expected.

  19. Greg0658 says:

    looks like the HOT thread of the day .. I’ll ding in and catch up

    FIRE sector (finance/insurance/realEstate)
    STEM sector (science/tech/engineering/math)

    the first thing coming to mind is maybe those folks with a door bumping them somewhere
    see the bubble and want to go somewhere before its to late
    &^%$ (farmettes/bullets/indentured homesteaders)

    second – we need another acro
    &^%# (law/journalism/ie: paperpush)

    paperpush is truely in bubble territory
    define bubble = herd looking for reward .. where the rug/floor/cliff can pull away at anytime

  20. MorticiaA says:

    BR: Spot on! Thank you for giving a large audience to a topic near and dear to my heart – those who enter the field of finance because they think it’s the easy way to get rich.

    Love the responses here, especially thomas hudson’s and Frank’s.

    As a kid I learned stock symbols before learning state capitols. I hid my copies of Business Week magazine from my uber-liberal parents, just like my teenage brother hid his Playboy magazines.

    Finance is in my blood, and the financial reward I expected coming into the field was just an honest living. If I wanted to get rich I would have followed in the footsteps of my wealthy clients: build a business of my own and sell it. Instead, I have found a great source of fulfillment in helping them keep the wealth once they’ve cashed in – and sometimes they say thank you…

    If I’m a smaller person for getting ticked off at those who enter my field for reasons I perceive as less-worthy than mine, then guilty as charged.

  21. 873450 says:

    If you want to do God’s work get a job on Wall Street.
    You get to be the biggest camel and your needle’s eye passage is greased with other people’s money.
    Caring for untouchables dying in a Calcutta gutter is a fool’s errand.
    Mother Theresa was a loser.

  22. Slash says:

    The problem with careers with “meaning” (whatever the hell that means) is that they don’t usually pay all that much (unless your last name is Clinton).

    It is amusing when people leave extremely lucrative careers, having cashed in in some form (sold stock, sold company, left after achieving CEO status, etc.) and then get a job that “means something.”

    I guess the rest of us chumps with meaningless jobs should feel grateful that they are devoting the rest of their lives to important stuff. Since they’ve figured out what the important stuff is.

    If rich people want to be pretentious and sanctimonious, fine, I just wish they’d keep it to themselves, or save it for their inevitable ghost-written autobiography. There’s nothing wrong with, upon being asked why you’re leaving a job, saying, “I just wanted to do something different.” People understand leaving a job because you just don’t like doing it anymore. Most people have jobs like that, but don’t have the luxury of leaving for a lower-paying, more “fulfilling” one.

  23. Greg0658 says:

    ‘when the blood runs dry look for another host’ .. exactly – it is the way

    I heard on the radio yesterday:
    doctors are polled in GOP turf
    nurses and understrings in DNC turf
    ..
    makes sence with the time/effort/money spent (hense rarity) to degree as a Doc
    (would like to have known a second string – ie: doc were you trained in the MIC)
    dang parasites are taking over the place

    with ‘ good advice and financial intermediation, everybody wins ‘ .. really ? I thought capitalism always has a trade for/against .. it is the way

    toys/tools/medical procedures have come a long way / alas political science is so behind the times

    ‘ excludes Russian birds, who have no soul ‘ .. thanks for the dose of reality – there is no other way :-|

  24. Zachary Karabell says:

    A great post, strong, a bit harsh, but important. This was n industry that peaked at about the right size and profit in the late 1980s, maybe early 1990s, with just enough ambition and greed but not dominated solely by the latter and with a real emphasis on serving clients. I tell people all the time, don’t do this for the money (which I’m sure strikes them as absurd, or at best depressingly ironic). Do it because you actually believe you can do something constructive, for your clients, for the future, whatever.

  25. BennyProfane says:

    From the NYT Magazine article about poor little Ina Drew:

    “She made sure never to have pictures of her young children at the office or even to mention them.”

    How in the world could anybody with half a soul even stand working with people like that?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/magazine/ina-drew-jamie-dimon-jpmorgan-chase.html?hpw

  26. [...] Barry Ritholtz, “The bottom line is that if you came to finance for the vast riches, you are here for the wrong reason. You might as well join the NBA and hope to be the next Michael Jordan.”  (Big Picture) [...]

  27. [...] The New Non­sense: Leav­ing Finance | The Big Pic­ture. Share [...]

  28. misterkeith says:

    For 20 years I’ve worked first for a retirement/insurance group in a trade association and then for a large credit union. I’ve noticed both organizations had strong mission driven cultures oriented towards member service. Employee longetivity and job satisfaction was high. My question is: Regardless of for-profit or not-for-profit, would employee longetivity be typical for a financial institution driven by some sort of mission other than strictly profit maximization?

  29. larrr1 says:

    Pride, hmm.

  30. [...] New Normal The new nonsense: Leaving finance - Barry Ritholtz [...]

  31. [...] Barry Ritholtz is sick of all the people who are just in finance for the money [...]

  32. [...] Good riddance to the surge in those leaving finance – you probably weren’t cut out for it anyway. [...]

  33. Mike.R says:

    Hey Chelsea, why not take some of that income you earn and put it towards something that “fullfills” you? I mean, it’s probably 5x or 50x the US median. What? Not enough leverage for you? Well then I guess we’ll see you down on K-street directing millions and billions of other peoples money to the causes, companies and pals that fulfill you most.

  34. ashpelham2 says:

    Mr. Ritholtz, I really hate to see this article from you. I have to say its the first article of yours I’ve read in the three years I’ve read this blog, that really seemed pious and elitist. I didn’t want to believe this about you; sort of thought of you as the John McCain Maverick type in the world of finance and financial journalism. Now, I see through your words that you believe those in finance who are highly compensated, truly are the only ones who deserve to be there. So many came into the industry in different places, hoping that working for a bank meant a better paycheck, if for no other reason than to give their hard working blue collar parents something to be proud of. So many of us took the bait from our high school guidance counselors and our grandparents, who told us that the road to riches won’t be in farming or manufacturing in the future. Told us to get a degree in accounting, become a professional, and have a wonderful wealthy life.

    So many of us have found the same cronyism and politics exist in the financial world as ever existed down at the assembly line. Except the rest of us taking the crumbs left over, still believing that we too could climb the ladder, got thrown out on our asses in 2009 when the boys at the top, you included in that group as I see from this article, nearly burnt the world to the ground with financial engineering, and modern day snake oil sales.

    I can’t wait to not let the door hit me in the ass on my way out of finance one day. Maybe I’ll go back t building things on an assembly line like my dad did, work there for the rest of my life, and get a pension till I die that would come very near to what you make in one year. Oh, wait….. Gonna need to move to China to find that job now I guess. Thanks again to financial engineering and venture capitalism.

    Adieu.

    ~~~

    BR: I dont think you are reading this correctly —

    I am pissing on those people who came to finance JUST FOR THE MONEY and are now leaving empty-handed.

    They came not to serve a client base, not to provide good service at a fair price, not to criticize bad policy decisions, not to correct the marketing myths, but simply to grab a bucket of cash?

    How on earth is that elitest ?

  35. [...] The new nonsense: leaving finance (BigPicture) [...]

  36. beaufou says:

    I have a question Barry.
    The financial sector seems to be creating most of the growth nowadays, a growth we all have to enjoy through inflation due to the ever increasing amount of Dollars in circulation, regardless of velocity.
    Should the tax system be focused on specific industries?

  37. beaufou says:

    The FIRE economy graph made me think of it btw…

  38. [...] The high rent version of [...]

  39. VennData says:

    Gorman Says Wall Street Workers Are ‘Still Overpaid,’ FT Reports

    http://www.sfgate.com/business/bloomberg/article/Gorman-Says-Wall-Street-Workers-Are-Still-3921781.php

    The boys on Wall Street are leaving the Boom-Boom Room and joining the Middle Class. You may wanna re-think your political focus fellas. Obama lookin’ pretty good now, eh?

    Sorry can’t link the Ft article due to their Chinese Pay wall.

  40. Moopheus says:

    “There are lots of reasons to work in finance,”

    Is “lack of useful skills for more productive and/or socially beneficial work” one of them?

    ~~~

    BR: No. Most of the people I know in this industry are smart, hard working and skilled. I also know plenty of purely money motivated weasels.

    I am hoping we keep the former and lose the latter . . .

  41. Gorman Says Wall Street Workers Are ‘Still Overpaid,’ FT Reports
    http://www.sfgate.com/business/bloomberg/article/Gorman-Says-Wall-Street-Workers-Are-Still-3921781.php

    – Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman said banks need to cut staff and compensation as “the industry is still overpaid,” according to an interview with the Financial Times.

    “What the Street has historically done is when revenues went up, they kept the comp-to-revenue ratio flat,” Gorman told the newspaper. “When revenues went down, they increased the comp-to-revenue ratio because they said, ‘We might lose all our people. We have to increase it.’”

    The failure to reduce pay in hard times has left compensation too high and must be addressed to improve returns for shareholders, said Gorman, 54.

    “That’s a classic Wall Street case of ‘Heads I win; tails, you lose,’” he said. “The current Wall Street management is a little tougher-minded about that and shareholders are certainly tougher-minded.”

  42. [...] The high rent version of [...]

  43. KF says:

    I came into the financial industry totally ass backwards a couple years ago (undergrad degree in sports medicine and utter boredom of taping ankles all day, so I put myself through an MBA in Finance from the Univ of Denver aka the Debate School) because I am drawn by the intellectual challenge, the pace and helping people. The money to be made personally was never part of the fulfillment (which is handy because I haven’t made any!); the work IS the fulfillment and the nobility is in the WORK.

    To blatantly rip off Todd Harrison: the journey is the destination.