5 Financial Services Professionals You Should Clone in “The Big Short”

December 28th, 2017 Written by: Molly Masterson

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Millennials at Work Report, 21% of millennials avoid the financial industry as a career due to the industry’s role in the 2008 financial crisis. And with millennials having officially become the majority of the American workforce in 2015, this makes it increasingly difficult for financial services firms to recruit top talent.

While the financial crisis certainly showed the industry’s shortcomings, it also surfaced some of its brightest minds.

The Oscar award-winning film “The Big Short” does a fantastic job of explaining the inner workings of the financial crisis while highlighting the extraordinary finance professionals who uncovered the market collapse. Even though the movie follows the people who ultimately profited from one of the worst economic crises in recent memory, these talented individuals still have qualities your own financial services team should embody. Through their unique skill sets and qualifications, your firm can overcome any sour reputation or distrust candidates, as well as customers, may be harbouring.

Below, we share the five financial services professionals from “The Big Short” that you should clone to create a team that clients trust and that candidates want to be a part of.

1. Michael Burry

Michael Burry is the hedge fund manager who discovered it all. After realizing that most of the U.S. housing market was dependent on high-risk subprime loans, Burry made the correct conclusion that the market would collapse back in early 2007. With this prediction, he took a big risk in making a long-term bet with his capital—one that would increase his fund’s value by 489%. A bet that he wouldn’t have made if he was solely focused on short-term results as his fund nearly went broke in the process.

By cloning Michael Burry at your firm, we are by no means suggesting you hire someone that will take big risks with a client’s finances. We are, however, suggesting you hire someone willing to think creatively and see the long-term picture for your clients as well as your firm. As the housing market collapse showed us, thinking only about the short-term payout can be dangerous.

2. Jared Vennet

Jared Vennet, a salesman for Deutsche Bank, heard about Burry’s analysis and came to the same conclusion that this could be a huge financial opportunity, but only if he played his cards right. Instead of betting against the housing market with his own investments, Vennet approached the situation like a true salesman and sold credit default swaps to other firms to make a profit off of the fees.

Even in finance, a good salesman can make a world of difference as Jared Vennet proved. Through his logically sound arguments, coaching, and proof of the banks’ fraudulent practices, Jared’s customers trusted him with the largest bet in their careers. With a good salesman like Vennet on your financial services team, you can put clients at ease and boost your firm’s reputation.

3. Mark Baum

Mark Baum is an interesting character, unwilling to believe in the careless activity that was taking place when Jared Vennet proposed purchasing credit default swaps. But once Vennet proves just how foolish financial institutions had been, Baum fully commits to buying credit default swaps from Vennet and showing the world the real reasons behind the collapse.

Mark Baum’s dedication to honesty, transparency, and accountability is paramount for financial institutions. It is without accountability and transparency that some banks adhered to fraudulent practices, contributing to the decline of the global economy. For your firm to gain trust from customers and future applicants, you need individuals like Baum who value truth and honesty on your side.

4. Jamie Shipley & Charlie Geller

Buying something cheap for a big potential payout is a strategy that paid off big time for hedge fund managers Jamie Shipley and Charlie Geller. But when they discovered Jared Vennet’s swap proposal, they quickly learned that they didn’t have enough capital to participate. Through grit, determination, and a strategic partnership, Jamie and Charlie got themselves into the game even though they lacked a license to trade.

In an oftentimes unpredictable industry like finance, having a can-do attitude and excellent tenacity can go a long way. Clients and candidates alike will appreciate people like Jamie and Charlie breaking their backs to secure deals, analyze the market, and go the extra mile for both clients and teammates. This level of enthusiasm is a welcome change that makes financial institutions a little more likeable as it disputes the stigma that financial firms are stiff and lack personality.

5. Ben Rickert

Calm. Cool. Collected. Skeptical. Ben Rickert is not your typical financial professional. After working in big banks for several years, Ben developed his own distrust of banking and a cynical view of the world, inspiring him to retire from trading. But when his young friends Jamie Shipley and Charlie Geller call him, he decides to help and mentor them using his insider experience and greater knowledge of the market.

A great mentor is needed in every organization. Ben’s willingness to help Jamie and Charlie, and show them the impactfulness of their work, is what makes Ben such a valued mentor. He’s there to help them reach their personal and professional goals, even though he’s sworn off trading. With great mentorship on your team, your team members will grow and prosper both personally and professionally creating a culture that other skilled candidates will want to join.

Assemble Your Finance Dream Team

The above characters in “The Big Short” are each a part of the financial dream team, showcasing great qualities like creative thinking, salesmanship, honesty, tenacity, and teaching. Start forming your financial services A-team with those characteristics and more by requesting talent with us.

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