Sales Traders Pounding the Pavement

Brokerage firms are being flooded like never before with inquiries from equity sales traders looking for their next opportunity. Recent layoffs, the declining pay structure at large firms and uncertainty in the economy have all contributed to the recent flurry of job seekers, sources say.

But the pending sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan has accelerated the number of sales traders looking to make their move, as more sales traders will hit the job market. Not all sales traders from both firms are expected to continue at the combined firm after the deal is finalized, many believe.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Packy Jones, president and CEO of JonesTrading. What sticks out are not only the number of resumes he’s seeing, but also the skill level of applicants looking to change firms, says the 30-year veteran. “The level of talent out there looking is remarkable,” Jones says. “It’s never been better.”

One head trader at a large money manager says that some brokerage firms are reviewing such a large number of resumes and interviewing so many candidates, they have taken the unusual step of creating “hiring teams” to streamline the process. “Everyone is looking to upgrade their sales traders,” he says.