Alicia Keys and Jay-Z might be inspired by New York's big lights, but if the city's concrete jungle isn't doing it for you, there are other financial hubs in the U.S. where you can pursue your career dreams.
We spoke with Doug Rickart, a division director at Robert Half, about the hottest U.S. financial job hot spots outside of the Big Apple. He said it all comes down to diversity. If a city offers an array of financial services, it's likely that you'll find great finance job opportunities there. Here's our list, in no particular order.
1. Chicago. The Windy City is known for more than just its brutally cold winters. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is the country's oldest futures exchange, and the Chicago Board of Trade is the largest trader of derivatives. "Don't forget about the hedge funds," Rickart said. The strong banking environment has encouraged a mass influx of all types of hedgies. Pack your parka.
2. Boston. In 2009, Boston was ranked ninth on the Global Financial Centres Index, which ranks top financial centers around the world. A large number of mutual fund, wealth management, venture capital and private-equity firms are based in and around Beantown, so it's no wonder finance pros flock there.
3. Charlotte, N.C. Don't let this down-to-earth Southern city fool you: Five of the country's top 25 banks operate in the Queen City, including BofA, which makes its home there. Rickart said that bank consolidation and acquisitions have put this place on the map, but keep in mind that it's definitely a city for those into low-key.
4. San Francisco. Truly the destination for those craving perpetually pleasant weather. Besides being the money center of the West Coast, SanFran is also one of four U.S. Treasury Financial Management Service processing centers. Don't forget that you'll have to wake up earlier to keep up with the markets on the East Coast.
5. Minneapolis. Yet another cooler clime but the Twin Cities (that's Minneapolis and St. Paul across the Mississippi, for you out-of-towners) could be too good to pass up. This financial hub of the northern Midwest is home to U.S. Bancorp, Ameriprise Financial and the Ninth District of the Federal Reserve System. To top it off, the people are just really, really nice.
6. Hartford, Conn. This landmark city's history with insurance agencies goes back a long way -- long enough to see umpteen companies come in, settle, move, and repeat the process. It's last on our list because it's pretty singular in its focus, but it still beckons for those not scared off the industry by AIG.
Other money centers worthy of note? Philadelphia and Kansas City, according to Rickart, because of their locations within Federal Reserve bank districts. Anywhere the fed government hovers, you can be sure jobs will follow.
Write to Julie Steinberg
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