Best Places to Work:
These select financial services firms get frequent mention in surveys of the best employers. However, note that individual experiences can vary widely.
Big 4 Public Accounting Firms often receive high marks today, yet they have long histories of being high-turnover work environments in which staff was treated as disposable. In any case, they offer excellent experience that can enhance a resume.
Northwestern Mutual cultivates highly-loyal sales staff, with a particular focus on developing lifetime employees from the ranks of recent college graduates.
Prudential is another insurance company that turns up high on surveys of the best places to work. Note that, like many of its peers, Prudential is a highly bureaucratic organization and thus may not appeal to everyone.
Chubb is a leading insurer that also regularly gets favorable mention for its workplace policies and employee relations.
Goldman Sachs remains the most respected name on Wall Street, and is noteworthy for a high degree of employee loyalty and morale. Of course, Goldman Sachs is also a firm that expects much of its employees, and reciprocates with generous pay plans. Women should note that Forbes magazine (“Terminated: Why the Women of Wall Street Are Disappearing,” March 16, 2009) notes that Goldman Sachs was the only leading Wall Street firm to respond to its request for statistics on female officers, reporting that their numbers have grown significantly in the past three years (female vice presidents, including executive directors, up by 21% and female managing directors up by 45%).
Raymond James operates under a business model that maximizes financial advisor autonomy.
Banco Popular is the largest Hispanic-oriented financial institution in the U.S.
Wells Fargo is the strongest of the large national banks. It also regularly receives strong marks for its employee development and retention programs.
The best places to work for financial advisors are the subject of a J.D. Power and Associates survey summarized in this link.
FORTUNE Best Companies 2020: Also see FORTUNE magazine’s annual list of the best companies to work for, many of which are in the financial services industry, or which have need for financial talent.
Worst Financial Companies:
New job openings at these troubled employers may be difficult to find, rendering this list something of a moot point. Nonetheless, even companies that are shedding staff in the aggregate often end up hiring in some niche areas. Also, for the adventuresome and risk-loving person, taking a flier on a job with a troubled firm possibly can offer opportunities to make a mark as an agent of change in a turnaround situation.
Citigroup has lurched from crisis to crisis, with a huge portfolio of nonperforming assets. It has survived through massive layoffs and sales of its most profitable business units.
Bank of America presents a similar situation to that of Citigroup, with nasty surprises emerging on an almost daily basis.
Merrill Lynch quickly has gone from a pillar of Wall Street to a mere shell of itself. Its new owners at Bank of America, itself a troubled institution, have moved rapidly to cut staff, especially in now-redundant support and administrative functions.
AIG has gone from an insurance and financial colossus to a disaster zone under federal control. After partial dismemberment to pay off the feds it also is a shadow of its former self.
Marsh & McLennan is still heavily tainted by its involvement in insurance bid-rigging schemes that included AIG.
American Express has cut staff and trimmed its customer list as well. The firm also has a severe credibility problem, launching these downsizing efforts shortly after posting solid financial results and reassuring employees that they were secure.
GMAC, Ford Credit and Chrysler Financial hit severe difficulties forcing massive reductions of staff, reflecting the ills of the automotive industry.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both been cutting staff and increasing workloads since their takeover by the federal government. The housecleaning at both still has a long way to go, and talk continues about their possible liquidation.
The worst places to work for financial advisors are covered in a survey by J.D. Power and Associates that is summarized in this link.