How Long Is Too Long? Waiting For The Senior Associates To Retire

What are the trends for senior associates and those that came after them? Find out more.

As a child, I got the pleasure of visiting San Simeon, the location of the famous Hearst Castle.  If you’ve ever been to this landmark iconic location in California, you have been struck by the decadence from the gold inlaid pools to the vast flowing gardens, the indoor pool house surrounded by statues, and, of course, the art.  What stood out most to me as a child was the dining room.  More importantly, the dining room table with the magnificent, now priceless china, glassware and silverware spread out on this extremely long table capable of seating many famous guests at one sitting, which in its time did.  As a child, the thing that made the most lasting impression on me, right in the middle of the table, was the Heinz Ketchup bottle.  What does this Heinz Ketchup bottle have to do with junior and senior associates?

Sitting And Waiting

Among all of the lavishness, there was this simple Heinz Ketchup bottle.  Why did this make such an impression on me?  It was the fact that among all this luxury and wealth there was the simplicity of the Ketchup bottle.  Even today, so many years since the heyday of Hearst Castle, the Heinz bottle still sits.  This reminded me of our current situation: our steadfast Bond Counsel and public finance bankers are still there waiting for the senior associates to move on and pass their books.  They remain, so other people do not get the opportunities they want desperately and have waited patiently for.  Many professionals wait around too long while hoping they will get a senior individual’s book. 

Pass The Baton From Junior To Senior Associates …

Or Rather Senior To Senior Now.

Like the Heinz Ketchup bottle that still remains, these professionals still remain.  They stay at their current firms even when they know it is time to move on.  Why?  Because the senior associates or old-timers (and I mean that affectionately), who still talk about their retirement years after they start holding out that carrot to the junior individuals, are still there.  The junior professionals who are now becoming more senior in age and maturity wait for the opportunities that never seem to come to fruition in the time frame they expected and hoped for.  Yet they continue to wait. 

The Cost Of Waiting On Senior Associates Today

There are so many times that I talk to great senior bankers who are holding back for the eventual exit of their senior associates or partners and are averse to even looking at new positions.  Time keeps ticking by, and the new opportunities start to wane; however, they still stay at their current position in the hopes that eventually, this may be the year they will inherit the book of clients of that senior individual.  This is not to say it will not happen eventually, but how many years do you have to wait?  While you are waiting, what was the opportunity cost?  These are the questions that you need to ask yourself.  Yes, like the Heinz Ketchup bottle, the opportunity is enticing, surrounded by such opulence.  Yes, it definitely stands out, but has its time come to change flavors or varieties in your business career?  Remember, the Heinz Ketchup bottle now comes in 57 varieties, not the one that was originally created. 


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About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.