Bonus Season Brings Up One Major Concern: To Stay Or To Go

Here's how you can determine who the clients will follow if you decide to make a move.

As bonus season looms around the corner, everyone’s expectations arise.  Employees are expecting to receive one amount, and employers are generally expecting to pay out another. When the two are not equal, then there is usually a degree of conflict and a differential that must be addressed.  Today addresses the more important concern (which is heightened during bonus season) of an employee facing the reality that if his/her bonus is not to their liking, what is next?  As you are all aware there are only two choices: stay or go. If you are considering making a move, do you believe your clients will follow in the move? 

The Biggest Concern: Who The Clients Will Follow

The biggest concern an employee (now prospective candidate) has to address is if his clients will follow him to a new home or if these are company clients (i.e., loyal to the firm who will remain company clients).  Incidentally, the candidate’s biggest concern is the same as the new prospective employer’s biggest concern.  So, lets address the reality of a candidate’s clients following him/her.

How To Determine Business Loyalty & If Clients Will Follow

The answer to whether a candidate’s clients will follow is based on the existing relationship.  Below are a series of questions that need to be pondered before contemplating making a move, and ones that employers need to have addressed in your interview process should you choose to pursue new opportunities.

Is this the type of “issuer” that is relying on the expertise of the public finance professional that has been servicing them for all the years?

Is this an issuer that goes to the market with RFP’s and is being loyal to their investment banking professionals to meet their debt issuance needs (rather than rotating them through a selected pool of professional pre-qualified firms)? 

Is this an issuer that is going to the market with needs for a specific competency that only you can provide to them? 

Do you represent an area of expertise in your company/firm and without you there to handle their present and future business they, the issuer, would most likely be leaving the company and following you?

Is this a client that you have been representing for years and have followed you during your entire career? Even if you have made one to two moves, do you believe the clients will follow moving forward? 

Are you working for a smaller firm where you went out and developed the business relationship? Do you know they are truly your clients (and type of clients will follow) rather than one of a “Bulge Bracket” type where you are merely servicing their transactional needs?

Final Thoughts On Making A Potential Move

If you can answer yes to a predominant amount of the above questions, then you should seriously consider a move in the future if your bonus is not to your liking.  The likelihood that your clients will follow you are great. However, please remember what I have shared throughout previous blogs.  Do not move only because of money.  There must be more compelling reasons to consider leaving your current firm.  If the bonus coupled with other compelling reasons causes you to want to explore future opportunities – make sure you are a candidate that can move your business. Do not fool yourself into answering yes when in your head you know the answer is no to the questions.  At the very least tell your prospective employer the truth to the above questions. It will definitely make your transition period less stressful on both you and your new hiring manager.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs so you never miss one. 

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 level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.