Author Topic: Career Choice: Private Banking vs. AML Consulting  (Read 8690 times)

Foster

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Career Choice: Private Banking vs. AML Consulting
« on: October 07, 2013, 05:47:03 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm currently working as an Anti-Money Laundering consultant. I make $2,000 every week (pre tax) and the contract goes until March. I graduate college in May. I could continue picking up contracting projects and make a pretty good income ($100,000+) after I graduate from school.

On the other hand, I have the opportunity to take a 2-year internship with Boston Private Bank to groom me to become a private banker. The salary would start at $45,000 and I'd be stuck in Boston for two years.

Here's a brief pros and cons list of each choice:

AML Consultant:
+ High income right out of college
+ Flexibility to choose where and when I want to work for each contract, which last 3-12 months
+ No real office politics
- No benefits, stability

Private Banking
+ Potential higher income in the long run
+ Trained specific skills to become a private banker
- Stuck in Boston for 2 years at a lower salary
- Office politics, having to wine and dine clients/coworkers

Also, an important side note is that I owe about $75,000 in loans, which I preferably would like to pay off ASAP to start saving. Boston is a good city, but expensive. I've lived here for 4 years and, at 22 years old, would like to see other parts of the country. I just don't want to be kicking myself ten years down the road when AML consulting dries up and experienced private bankers have a cushy job.

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge in either of these fields? Is private banking a good career? Is consulting really as awesome as it seems?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I appreciate any insight you may have. Also, if there are any college/high school students that would like my advice as far as internships/major/getting a job after college, please feel free to PM me.

TS

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Re: Career Choice: Private Banking vs. AML Consulting
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2013, 05:57:40 PM »
It sounds like you are in a really good position, with two attractive paths on offer.  I think the two things that are missing from your post are (1) what your current expenses are (and will $45k in private banking cover them) and (2) what your goals are for the future. 

If you have low expenses and could realistically achieve FI in a short period of time working in AML, it doesn't really matter if this type of consulting dries up in a decade.  Conversely, if your plan involves you working for the next 30 years and achieving the maximum possible long-term income then private banking may be the better option.


Foster

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Re: Career Choice: Private Banking vs. AML Consulting
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2013, 09:03:40 PM »
Thanks TS, I really appreciate your insight.

Good point regarding current expenses as well as my plan for FI. I can't see myself wearing a suit every day for the next 30 years, so the shorter path may be better for me.

Thanks again!

RobertBirnie

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Re: Career Choice: Private Banking vs. AML Consulting
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2013, 09:10:59 PM »
I would probably go with the AML consultancy. Anything like that where you get to see a diverse set of environments for a short period of time has to be great experience. I'm pretty sure a few years of that type of experience and many private banks would be fighting over you.

brewer12345

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Re: Career Choice: Private Banking vs. AML Consulting
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2013, 09:12:34 PM »
Private banking is largely a sales job and there is a high failure rate amongst new would-be private bankers (same with brokers, insurance agents and the like).  The ones that succeed end up with a nice business, but 50% or more have moved on to something else by the end of the 4 years from when they started.  There is substantial risk that this path will not pan out if you take it.

OTOH, banks will always struggle with AML issues.  Right now you are a consultant, but you could definitely find a regular job doing this if you wanted to.  The self employed have way more flexibility to manage their taxes and expenses than us W2 slobs do, and the advent of ACA means that getting healthcare insurance no longer requires the aid of an employer.  You apparently have no problem getting consulting gigs, so it would be hard to walk away from that if I were in your shoes.

I'd have a really hard time justifying taking the private banking job.

Foster

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Re: Career Choice: Private Banking vs. AML Consulting
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 04:55:36 PM »
Private banking is largely a sales job and there is a high failure rate amongst new would-be private bankers (same with brokers, insurance agents and the like).  The ones that succeed end up with a nice business, but 50% or more have moved on to something else by the end of the 4 years from when they started.  There is substantial risk that this path will not pan out if you take it.

OTOH, banks will always struggle with AML issues.  Right now you are a consultant, but you could definitely find a regular job doing this if you wanted to.  The self employed have way more flexibility to manage their taxes and expenses than us W2 slobs do, and the advent of ACA means that getting healthcare insurance no longer requires the aid of an employer.  You apparently have no problem getting consulting gigs, so it would be hard to walk away from that if I were in your shoes.

I'd have a really hard time justifying taking the private banking job.

I was sort of suspecting most of this, but it's great/refreshing to hear from someone who actually has experience within this area. I figured private banking was more of a sales job (highly unattractive to me personally), so I think I'll stick with the consulting. Thanks for shedding some light on this issue for me.

chasesfish

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Re: Career Choice: Private Banking vs. AML Consulting
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2013, 06:20:06 PM »
What is the job description as a "private banker".  I work for a large regional and this isn't that high of  a paying position.  It's also a tough job out of college.  A jr commercial banker would be better.

If you want FI, your contract work or a different side of banking is better

rashida80

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Re: Career Choice: Private Banking vs. AML Consulting
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2013, 09:04:49 AM »
Hi,

I currently work in the banking industry & started my career out of graduate school as a private Banker about 7yrs ago & ultimately transitioned to Fund Management, then Compliance Underwriting Consulting...being in Private Banking is a challenging job.  The salary is really low and you have to work 10x's as hard to build a client base. And, considering you are just finishing school, you would be starting at square one from the bottom.  What Company do you work for doing the consulting work? How long is the contract slated to go for? And, what is your ultimate career goal?  I would highly encourage you to look into working as an Investment Banking Analyst, there are several programs with the top banks that recruit heavily for undergrads interested in banking right out of college, these jobs would be a good comparison in income, with some deviations.  You work on salary & the bonuses on the deals you work on many times are equal to or more of your base.