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"I am a quant MD in a bank and I fear for my future"

I am a managing director leading a quantitative function at an investment bank in London. I manage a large team of quant developers and I have over two decades' experience. Yet it is unclear to me how I find a new role from here. 

Members of my team have no difficulty finding new jobs. They are regularly hired by the likes of Citadel Securities and other electronic market makers and have a lot of visibility on the jobs available to them. I wish them well and can appreciate their urge to maximise their opportunities in this economic climate.

When you reach my level, though, the future is a lot more opaque. MD level jobs are often highly strategic and are therefore not advertised publicly. Retained search recruiters are not knocking on my door. Despite decades of experience, high demand in the market, and amazing contacts, I am uncertain of what comes next. I am part of the forgotten tier of middle and senior management in banks who are often shunted into premature retirement.

I'd like to hear from other people who have found themselves in this situation. What have you done? Which headhunters focus on MD level recruitment? Please let me know in the comments section below.

Best comment picked by the author
The idea of MD is to stay 5-10 years in the role and then gracefully retire from the industry, having a fat bank account. But many people are getting confused, start living a lifestyle, which they cannot support, unless you are rich enough ...

Banks do nothing to formalise MD career paths, or to offer MDs mentors who can help us understand what comes next. Being an MD is a highly political role, which often comes as a result of who you know rather than your abilities - if your sponsors leave, you are very exposed. Banks should do more to help their MD populations understand their career pathways. Personally, I would like each MD to be paired up with five people in permanent rotational mentorships; that would at least be a start. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Hm
    27 January 2022

    Go play golf

  • Pe
    Peter Principle
    22 January 2022

    It's interesting the author of this article expects to be provided with mentors (five, no less). Most managing directors would have the initiative to find their own mentors. If the author was reliant on political patronage to reach their position then it's a good thing for the industry and for meritocracy in general if they fear for their future!

  • Fo
    21 January 2022

    You could transition to being a PM in a hedge fund for example. Surely you know all the players there?

    These kinds of jobs are somewhat entrepreneurial in nature, but I assume that if you made MD, you can make and defend a business plan.
    It would also be more risky, but with larger upside.

    If you're more technical you could also apply for CTO roles, those are also quite common, but less upside.

    It pays to maintain good relationship with senior headhunters. Help them better understand all of their clients and what you see is happening in the market, and they will keep you in the loop of what they see on their side too.

  • Lb
    20 January 2022

    Become A WhistleBlower..Expose The Corruption and Manipulation that happens between banks & Hedgefunds such as Citadel..You can save your career & Save the country from These predators...

  • ni
    20 January 2022

    "Despite decades of experience, high demand in the market, and amazing contacts, I am uncertain of what comes next" - this seems like a contradictory statement. If there is high demand, then what's the issue?

    I think this is the curse of rising up - you are pretty much guaranteed to lead people, develop them and slowly watch your own coding/math skill set erode. You get compensated for that. If you want to get back into quant work so that you have headhunters calling you, then that's what you should do. Start doing the work again. Also - 20 years in this field is a lifetime - you should either up-skill or retire. Hopefully 20 years in the industry has given you an adequate cushion. Or you could just wait it out and hope for a severance eventually.

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