On November 11, Americans salute the men and women of the armed forces who have served the nation in uniform. But honoring our veterans must be more than a one day commitment-which is why the financial services industry is doing its part to provide opportunities and support for veterans year-round.
It’s the right thing to do-but it’s also good business. That’s because industry leaders recognize that military service is a powerful training ground for helping people develop talents and skills like leadership, teamwork, communication and creative problem solving. Those are strong professional attributes that can add value to any workplace.
Chris Perkins, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran now serving as global head of OTC clearing for Citi, emphasizes that it’s not just about giving veterans jobs, but helping vets into the right career paths so that both they and the companies that hire them can benefit.
“When a veteran comes into our industry or any other industry, we may have to teach them the business. But they come with all those intangible qualities that can’t be quantified – strong ethics, loyalty and teamwork. They want to serve and they want to do the right thing,” Perkins explains. “Something very powerful that I see in veterans is the ability to make decisions under pressure. Some roles in finance are full of pressure. You have to have the grit and desire to succeed. A lot of veterans have that trait.”
Creating an on-ramp to help these leaders to transition into financial services jobs is a win-win for veterans and the industry. Here’s a look at a few ways in which financial firms are recruiting and nurturing the industry’s leaders of tomorrow from the ranks of military veterans and providing support for their families.
Wall Street Warfighters Foundation
The Wall Street Warfighters Foundation is dedicated to placing service-disabled veterans in financial services industry careers.
Established in 2008 by principals of Philadelphia-based broker-dealer Drexel Hamilton, the foundation tracks eligible veterans into a six-month crash course in financial services, with coursework, preparation for exams, apprenticeship and internship opportunities and other activities aimed at positioning veterans for careers in the industry.
The Foundation has trained and placed dozens of veterans into rewarding careers, while continuing to grow. SIFMA partners with the Foundation to offer an executive education scholarship for veterans to attend Securities Industry Institute training at the Wharton School of Business.
Veterans on Wall Street
Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) is an industry-led initiative aimed at facilitating career opportunities in the financial industry for military veterans.
Led by Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and HSBC, with substantial sponsorship support and participation from other industry partners, VOWS works with military groups, veterans services organizations, industry associations and others to offer educational programs, outreach and mentoring, career development opportunities, and an annual conference focused on veteran employment.
Firm-level Veterans Recruitment and Career Opportunities
In addition to their support for broader industry initiatives like VOWS and the Wall Street Warfighters Foundation, many financial firms have developed hiring initiatives to recruit and place military veterans.
For example, the following firms are among the many that have launched specialized recruiting and entrepreneurship tracks targeting veterans:
This listing is in no way complete-many other firms also make efforts to recruit veterans to harness the skills they honed in service. If you’re interested in working with a specific firm, check the company’s website or contact the company directly to ask about veteran hiring policies.
FINRA Military Financial Readiness Program
The financial services industry also offers support to military families, who often face financial challenges that are too often overlooked. The months-long deployment of a parent, spouse or partner can put stress on any families’ financial standing.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), an independent, not-for-profit organization that regulates the securities industry, offers a financial readiness program through its education foundation to help military families boost their financial capability.
In collaboration with the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Campaign, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s Military Financial Readiness Program provides online tools to help military families cope with financial challenges like credit management and duty station changes; fellowships for military spouses to acquire financial counselor training; educational forums dedicated to personal finance and more.
These are only a few of the resources available to help veterans and their families during the transition. Efforts to help former military personnel to integrate into the workforce play a vital role in providing opportunities, while helping them to contribute their skills and experience in a powerful way.