RPT-Wall Street executives fret about talent drain

Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:59am EST
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By Lauren Tara LaCapra

DAVOS, Switzerland Jan 27 (Reuters) - As the titans of Wall Street banks gathered to network, gossip and consider the future of their beleaguered industry in Davos over the past week, one common worry emerged: who is going to take over when we leave?

Some of the most ambitious minds in finance are leaving the industry after years of losses, scandals, bad press - and perhaps most importantly new regulations that have curbed some previously free-wheeling ways.

The issue, executives say, is not pay, but how much scope there is to innovate and build businesses, which is why more bankers and traders are leaving the big Wall Street firms for Silicon Valley, joining private investment partnerships like hedge funds and private equity funds, or going into energy and other industries.

David Boehmer, head of financial services in the Americas for the recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles, said he hears this message from Wall Street employees looking to leave the industry.

"I get people saying, 'I'm bored and I need to do something about it - this isn't a challenge anymore,'" he said.

The problem is particularly acute for big banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc or JPMorgan Chase & Co, several senior bank chief executives, managers and consultants told Reuters in interviews at the World Economic Forum here.

"There is a massive talent drain in our business," said a senior Wall Street executive, who declined to be identified.   Continued...