East Meets West: Management Styles in Financial Services

A recent Harvard Business School article[1] suggests significant contrasts between the management styles of U.S. corporations situated on either the East or West Coasts. This discussion has prompted the following question:


Are there differences in the ways East and West Coast financial services firms are run?


Since financial services in general is a well-established industry without a large start-up culture, we at Jamesbeck have observed that prevailing management styles are substantially similar on both the East and West Coasts. Whether or not a firm and its leadership are entrepreneurial, forward-looking, or visionary is a function of the organization, and unrelated to the coast on which the firm is based.


Due to the location of Wall Street, and its traditional role as the hub of financial services markets, the East Coast has been historically perceived as faster paced and harder working than its Western counterpart. This is no longer the case.


Growth of FinTech driven by West Coast companies


What we’re currently seeing is that the fintech vertical is much larger on the West Coast than on the East Coast. We think this fact speaks to the entrepreneurial nature of the West Coast, which includes large start-up and venture-capital communities.


Additionally, technology is being harnessed across all functions at financial services firms, which has impacted corporate recruiting. Financial services firms are finding it necessary to look outside the industry to access tech talent, which is largely based on the West Coast, where large technology firms are headquartered, such as Google, Salesforce, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft.


If you have questions or would like to dialogue on any of the topics addressed in this piece, please feel free to contact me.