When analyst bonuses are paid this month, plenty of junior bankers will contemplate their next moves. Many will go into private equity. Some will go into hedge funds. Some will go into corporate development. Others will settle into a life of getting up at 10am and playing the guitar while preparing to launch a start-up.
But if you want to get out of banking and you still need to make good money, one young German banker has generated another alternative. - Working on a project basis, at home, for a healthy hourly rate.
"People in our community set their own hourly rates, typically between $70 and $250 an hour," says Ömer F. Güven, a Liechtenstein-based banker who founded Fintalent, a platform matching M&A and strategy talent to corporates. "We have a time tracker and they get paid for the hours they actually work. - There's no face time."
Fintalent started life in October 2019. Twenty months later, Güven says there are 800 professionals working on the platform and clients based across Europe and the U.S.. Güven himself spent five years working in equities for MM Warburg in Hamburg, but the people on the platform have experience everywhere from Goldman to JPMorgan, Lazard and McKinsey.
Fintalent isn't your average outsourcing operation for junior bankers. - The bankers on the site (which is invite only) aren't based on offshore and the clients aren't overwhelmed M&A teams in the bulge bracket that are looking to farm out the most boring work. Instead, the clients are mostly "big enterprise clients" (corporates) and the portfolio companies of PE funds who want to do their own due diligence on potential deals. They're able to use Fintalent to assemble custom teams for each project.
With many junior bankers working crazy hours during the pandemic and becoming disaffected with their jobs, Güven says there's been a dramatic increase in interest in the platform from bankers who want to quit. "We have Goldman analysts who've left after two years, and we're getting more and more director and VP level talent signing-up."
The fact that many banks are mandating a return to the office is adding momentum. "With us, you can work remotely for six months if you like and you can earn money the way you want," says Güven. "We have directors at Lazard in New York who are saying, 'If you can provide me with enough projects, I'll quit my job and work remotely."
While you're not going to get a big bonus or become a managing director as a freelancer, Güven says the platform offers an opportunity for junior bankers who want to start a fintech to earn money while getting their concept together. Because people on the platform choose their own projects and dictate how they work, he says they can end up working far shorter hours. "If you work remotely on the sellside, they'll really squeeze you for working hours. With us, you're working for the end client."
The only people not really welcome on the Fintalent platform seem to be managing directors from banks and boutiques. Güven says they mostly want to set up boutiques of their own. "Small boutiques are more likely to be our competitors," he says. "They want cheap analysts and put less emphasis on quality than we do."
Photo by BP Miller on Unsplash
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