Nimbleness needed to catch boomers

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The baby boom generation is fast approaching retirement. And unless it acts soon, the City risks losing their knowledge to the golf course.

Some banks appear more alert to the dangers than others. Earlier this month Financial News reported that UBS has opened an 'Office for Career Mobility' in the US, with the intention of teaching its old (and existing) dogs new tricks.

UBS declined to comment any further on the matter, but it may have introduced the policy a little late - chief executive Huw Jenkins went on to tell the paper that only 1% of the bank's staff is aged 50+. He added, "We want to change that. We need to be more meritocratic, more flexible about working hours."

Philip Beddows, Partner at coaching and mentoring company IDDAS, says, "Everyone respects [former chairman of the US Federal Reserve] Alan Greenspan and the Sage of Omaha [billionaire Warren Buffet] but it is difficult to find someone of a similar age in any investment bank. There is the most appalling waste of talent every year."

Little surprise, therefore, that former Lord Mayor David Brewer regularly alluded to a 'US bank' in the City employing 8,000 people, whose average age was 31.

What can be done? Investment banks could emulate competitors with retail arms (where boomers and older are more widespread). Greig Aitken, head of human capital strategy at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, told us RBS does not hire people to "chew them up and spit them out," and that employees who've retired are brought back on a part time or consultancy basis.

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