Sunday, September 27, 2009

The CIA and ex-bankers

After reading the article below, it got me thinking about my own experiences with them back in 2006.

The CIA's interest in financial professionals is not new.  In fact, back in 2006, when I was looking for an new opportunity after working as a senior financial analyst (for a Fortune 100 company), I was soft recruited for a position that I ultimately did not pursue.

Why would the CIA be interested in financial professionals?  The very reason that even terrorist organizations need to use banks, and frequently conduct money laundering.  The hope is with individuals versed in banking, they can track these illegal transactions.  Ironically, most of the items that become illegal items start out as legitimate components, so one of the key skill set the analyst needs is to understand and track where those items are ultimately going financially.

Because of this, my guess is that they will probably not be soliciting any sales professional or stock brokers, but more so the analysts that worked very closely and understands the many banking instruments that an individual may use to save and hide their money.

The CIA is likely making a bigger push to recruit for these roles now as with the onset of massive layoffs in the financial sector, it's not likely that individuals will find a competing role.  For example, when I was being interviewed, they offered individuals like myself $60,000/year starting.  This is a far cry from what I have been paid previously and what I was paid when I was a banker (post bonus).  They base quite a bit of their salary on your formal qualifications, such as your education and degrees.

Each individual I spoke with during my interview seem to have been there on average at least 5 years.  I fully agree with the article that they must have great benefits, cause from my conversations a lot of individuals who join the CIA become "lifers" of the Company.

The downside of working for Langley is that your daily lives and actions are closely monitored.  They do background checks on your spouses and girlfriends, and you also have to gain approval before traveling on vacation overseas.  Especially after the Aldrich Ames incident, I can understand why they would be so careful.  Lastly, they don't give you an offer right away, there is a 6-month background check conducted by I believe the FBI.  So one will interview for a position, wait 6-month going about their business and current job, then all of the sudden be called up for duty.

I am pretty certain that of the former bankers who apply for a position with the Company, many would be well qualified for the role.  However, I don't have a lot of confidence any will pass the lie detector and background checks.  After all, the banking industry itself is a "dirty" business.

CIA seeks laid-off bankers in N.Y. recruitment drive

By Frederick H. Katayama

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Laid off from Wall Street? The CIA wants you -- as long as you can pass a lie detector test and show that you are motivated by service to your country rather than your wallet.

The Central Intelligence Agency has been advertising for recruits and will be holding interviews on June 22 at a secret location in New York.

"Economics, finance and business professionals, if the quest for the bottom line is just not enough for you, the Central Intelligence Agency has a mission like no other," one radio advertisement for the agency says.

"Join CIA's directorate of intelligence and be a part of our global mission as an economic or financial analyst. Make a difference in your career and for your nation," it says.

Ron Patrick, a spokesman for recruitment and retention at the CIA, told Reuters Television the agency had received several hundred resumes so far from applicants ranging from people just out of graduate school to laid-off bankers.

"It's going to be a very different use of their skill set than perhaps they've used on Wall Street," Patrick said.

Recruits will have to pass rigorous background and medical checks, as well as a polygraph, or lie-detector test.

Starting salaries range from around $60,000 for a new graduate to $100,000 for somebody with more experience, and top out at $160,000. Generous benefits are included.

Patrick said the agency would welcome worthy applicants from Wall Street, whose reputation has been tarnished by the financial crisis and revelations of lavish lifestyles and multi-million dollar bonuses at banks blamed for the meltdown.

"Typically the people that come to the CIA want to serve the government, they want to serve their countries. It's a different mindset perhaps than serving a company or serving profit as a bottom line," he said.

"As long as they can make that attitude switch from profit being the motivator to serving their country, I think they'll fit in very well with us."

No comments:

Post a Comment