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There is a war for talent on Wall Street

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tug of war

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Wall Street banks are in a tug-of-war with startups for top talent.

The fintech industry’s budding startups keep bringing on Wall Street establishment firms as investors

And they are hiring big Wall Street names, too.  

At a time when money coming into the fintech sector has risen, startups looking to disrupt Wall Street’s top banks are emboldened, armed, and ready to hire talent from the industry behemoths with which they compete. 

Online lenders, trading data providers and consumer finance apps are now trying to pry both banks’ clients and talent from high-paid Wall Street gigs with the promise of equity and a brighter future.

Here are the heavy hitters top startups successfully integrated into their growing businesses. 

Vinayak Gurjar is Commonbond’s Chief Risk Officer

After graduating B-school at the University of North Carolina, Vinayak Gurjar would spend one year with Capital One, and nearly eight with Standard & Poor’s before joining Citigroup. Today, he’s the chief risk officer at online lender CommonBond in New York. He’s joined by other finance veterans Morgan Edwards (CFO of CommonBond), who has experience at Macquarie Capital, Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley; and Beth Starr, its head of capital markets, who worked at Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Jefferies.

Angela Galardi Ceresnie co-founded Orchard Platform after getting Wall Street experience

Angela Galardi Ceresnie is co-founder and CFO of Orchard Platform, an online lender. She brings years of risk management expertise to the role. She spent about five years working at American Express, departing with the title of director of risk management, and went to Citibank, her LinkedIn profile says, where she was VP of risk. 

Mike Cagney launched lender SoFi after working with a big bank and a hedge fund

Before he founded online lender SoFi, Mike Cagney spent a decade as co-founder and managing partner of a hedge fund. But he also spent six years with Wells Fargo, developing proprietary trading code, among other roles. As SoFi expands from personal and student lending into new arenas — like mortgage finance — other SoFi execs he’ll lean on include Nino Fanlo, CFO, who has experience at KKR, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo; and former Sallie Mae general counsel Rob Lavet, among others. 

Goldman Sachs veteran Sarah Friar joined Square in 2012

Sarah Friar joined Square in summer 2012, and her arrival at the time heralded as the potential beginning of a path toward an IPO. It took until late 2015 to complete the journey. She came to Square after spending 11 years at Goldman Sachs and two years at McKinsey & Co. 

Suk Shah, CFO at lender Avant, got experience working with HSBC

Online lender Avant has originated more than $1 billion in loans through funding from big Wall Street names like JPMorgan and Credit Suisse, among others. The startup has also beefed up its ranks by adding plenty of Wall Street executive talent. Suk Shah, its CFO, was head of HSBC’s commercial banking business in the US and Canada.  James Paris got experience at Barclays, UBS and BMO Capital Markets before joining Avant as its executive vice president capital markets and corporate development, as well. 

Lending Club also has a club of former Wall Street pros in its ranks

Sandeep Bhandari joined Lending Club six months ago after spending more than a decade in various roles with Capital One, most recently as assistant chief credit officer overseeing auto and home loans. He’s not the only one with a traditional Wall Street pedigree at the online lender. Jeff Bogan and Tim Bogan (not related) respectively head of Lending Club’s investor group and audit — and also veterans of Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab.

Aaron Vermut, CEO of lender Prosper

Aaron Vermut, CEO of Prosper, got experience earlier in his career at Wells Fargo before taking the helm of the lending startup from his father, Steve. Steve Vermut — who has an impressive resume in the financial services sector — is now executive chairman. Other execs from Prosper’s roster with Wall Street experience include Josh Tonderys and Wells Fargo veteran Ron Suber.

Kiran Shastri cofounded SmartPocket, which received funding in 2015

Yet another Goldman Sachs alumnus on our list, Kiran Shastri worked in India for the investment bank sharpening tech for credit derivatives and equities trading. After leaving in 2013, he would develop two startups — one of them, SmartPocket, is a mobile wallet that integrates consumers’ debit and credit cards onto their smartphones. Last year, the startup took in its first round of funding. 

Bondview’s Robert Kane used to be a network security officer for Goldman

Robert Kane handled network security at Goldman Sachs in the late 1980s and early 90s, before launching an angel investing network and a handful of startups. Today, he runs Bondview, a municipal bond data tracking startup used by investors.