Finance Jobs With the Feds

Published: Aug 10, 2010


Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and UBS are commonly the first and biggest names you think about if you're an undergrad or MBA student looking to join the ranks of the financially-employed. But given the state of play today in the post-credit crisis, post-regulatory reform world of finance, there are a handful of other equally as large names that should be on your finance-job radar: the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Commodities Futures Trading Commission and brand new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (known simply and widely as the SEC), which has to be pretty fired up after forcing Goldman Sachs to cough up 550-large, offers numerous types of J.O.B.s that you can read about by checking out “jobs” at and then hitting the “SEC Recruitment Center” link. This will take you to a page where students and experienced professionals alike can click through to job openings in their area of choice. Here’s one example opening: security compliance officer (money markets fund expert) in Washington, D.C.; salary range: $126,661 to $198,333; requirements include: "knowledge of the financial, operational, accounting, and legal aspects of the asset management industry"; "familiarity with the overall structure of financial services regulation in the United States"; "knowledge of the financial, operational, accounting, and legal principles relating to money market funds"; an MBA is "preferred."

The main function of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the FDIC), which, like the SEC, has also gained in visibility in the wake of the credit crisis, is to insure banks with more than $250,000 in deposits. The FDIC employs 6,500 people across several regional offices; it operates a detailed and helpful careers section of its web site (found here:, "about the FDIC," "careers at FDIC") and job listings are plentiful. Here’s an example listing: senior capital markets specialist in Washington, D.C.; salary: $108,130 to $178,902; major duties include: "overseeing analysis, management, valuation, marketing and sale of complex capital market related assets in failing and failed financial institutions."

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (New York Fed), headquartered in Manhattan with a major outpost in East Rutherford, N.J., is one of 12 regional reserve banks in the country. It’s the largest, although it only serves a tiny geographical area: New York State; 12 counties in New Jersey; Fairfield County, Conn.; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The New York Fed employs a staff of nearly 3,000 and, along with its other regional Federal Reserve banks, is responsible for “formulating and executing monetary policy, supervising and regulating depository institutions, and assisting the federal government's financing operations,” among other duties. To find its careers section of its web site, go to “careers” on its home page (; the site has a spot for undergrads, advanced-degree holders and experienced candidates. Here’s an example of a current opening: senior financial/economic analyst in the bank supervision group (which “formulates policy positions”); requirements include: “a master’s degree or equivalent professional experience (7 to 9 years) in accounting and/or financial analysis"; a "CPA or undergraduate or graduate business degree [is] a plus but not required.”

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission regulates U.S. commodities futures and options markets. It was created in 1974, and its main duties are to ensure that commodities markets are free of fraud and manipulation. Back in the 70s, mostly agricultural commodity futures were traded; now, of course, the futures and options market is a bit more complicated. The CFTC offers five major career paths/professions (which are detailed on its web site): attorneys, auditors, economists, futures trading specialists/investigators and management professionals. For a list of available jobs, check out “current openings at CFTC” under the “ careers” link at Here's one current listing: supervisory industry economist, Chicago, Ill.; salary range: $127,147 to $186,763; duties include: “serving as chief of the regional agricultural surveillance branch in the division's market surveillance section” (“the branch is responsible for detecting and preventing price manipulations and other adverse market situations specifically related to agricultural commodities”).

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created by the newly-signed-into-law financial regulatory overhaul bill, will certainly be hiring many employees to help fill its ranks (though, it’s unclear, as of yet, just how many folks it will be hiring). The Bureau will soon be policing rules and regulations associated with credit cards, checking accounts, mortgages and other bank products pitched to consumers. Although the CFPB doesn’t have its own site yet (and may not for awhile), checking out periodically in the coming months for possible openings is not a bad idea.