Hey guys, I mainly lurk in the shadows and read here but for once could use some input. I’m in toronto and graduated with a bachelor’s in 2009 and was having hard time finding a “decent” job at the time, so I took a job as a personal banker for one of the big 5. Been here for just over a year, and my original plan of using it as my “foot in the door” doesn’t seem to work out that well. As I’m learning, retail banking a) tries to keep you around if you are half decent performer, making it harder to move laterally, b) was given a small raise which locked me in from applying internally for other posting for another year. c) contrary to point a, theres still low job security from what i’ve seen. I passed my level 1 in december and scrambling to pass level 2 in june (im not too optimistic on it though when facing reality of the test). A friend is offering to set me up for an interview at State Street for Fund Accountant position… After doing my research I found that a) Work is hardly challenging/ very repetative b) Start salary is in mid to high 30’s while I’m making 40k at retail. So my dilemma is, do I even bother with the process? Is taking the a small pay cut worth the experience and just how relevant is it? (to me so far FA looks like a glorified processing clerk). Staying where I am does occasionally put me in front of a director in the right departments, but so far haven’t paid off… thoughts?
What do you want to be doing? If it’s investment management, research, etc… FA is not going to really help you get there.
Hey there, I work for a Hedge Fund Administrator company with mainly Fund Accounting based roles, and I can assure you the work is repetitive…but I do find the work is challenging at times; it’s not ridiculously easy, but then again it’s not overly complicated. it really is very similar to an accounting clerk…there is hardly any relevance to the CFA curriculum…about 75% of my office is taking the CFA exams, but only really to get out of their current roles…Mostly accounting based work, and will not help to get into finance roles… also, typically doesn’t count for CFA experience unfortunately either… I’m planning on leaving in a few months once I reach the one year mark, and hope passing level 2 will help my chances to get anything more relevant/higher pay lol below 40k in toronto? that doesn’t seem very good at all…I live in a much smaller (and hence cheaper) city and I still find this salary is barely worth the effort I was told the FA roles at State Street in T.O. started around 40-45k? Maybe I was misinformed… my conclusion…stay with the Big 5 if possible, and I’m sure chances will open up eventually…your chances of better positions won’t be by getting into fund accounting unless you want to get an accounting designation and forget about being a charterholder (well, for the most part and in short term anyway) hope this helped
Stay in retail sales, your future is much better there. Five years ago a guy I started the CFA with was in the same role as you, he is now a PM in the PWM division of a big five bank and I am asking him for career advice. If you switch to fund accounting you WILL regret it.
mmike I think I know what you are dealing with, I am working for a small shop for about 4 years now and even though I have passed all the exams (finished in 2009) finding a ‘decent’ job at a bigger company seems to be a lot more challenging than I previously thought. I would not move on a fund accountant position unless it would be well paid and at a company that I’d like to work in a different position. Unfortunately such a position does not seem so likely to find. I was mostly looking at back end jobs within a bigger investment management company but even those jobs seem to be hard to get (even with some decent experience and the 3 exams - I am 1 week away of applying for my charter - maybe that will help a bit?) I think we need to stay at the best paying job until it’s clear that a good opportunity arises and keep applying. Good luck!
Mmike, did you say you’re in Toronto?
Thanks for the input guys! Pretty much confirmed my own thought process. I’ll pass on this one @ black swan, yes I am
mmike, forgot to say, I’m in Toronto too probably there is still a large amount of people in the industry unemployed or underemployed and that is why we are having such a hard time
I would like to add that if you are decent at sales or enjoy interpersonal interaction it also means that you’re likely not going to enjoy accounting, in fact you may hate it. I know that that’s the case for me, I’d take the pay cut for a position as a personal banker if I could.
Get out of the retail bank and get into the commercial bank in possibly a support role. Its a better launchpad for your career.