Wall Streeters Head West

Photo: Getty Images

We've never understood why people move to Chicago. It's like moving to Australia or something. It takes a long time to get there, everyone has funny accents, and once you're there you're stuck, since you have to get on a plane to get anywhere else. It's like you're marooned in the outback of Middle America. Plus, it's not sunny and they don't have kangaroos, so what's the point?

Apparently, money. According to the Chicago Tribune, layoffs on Wall Street have caused a number of finance people to move west. They're just as surprised as we are.

"For the first time ever, we're seeing midlevel developers who are interested in moving from New York to Chicago because the staffing environment is so much stronger here," Chicagoan David Fisher, who runs an options developing company called OptionsXpress, tells the Tribune. "It used to be almost impossible to make that move. But now we're seeing people approach us."

But once they've arrived, cultural differences abound, according to Donald Newell, the president of a group called Quiddity.

An archetypal Wall Streeter has an Ivy League diploma, while the Chicagoan practically stumbles into trading, he said.


"One guy I know is a roofer," Newell said. "He fell off a roof, broke his arm. He helped out while recovering, answering phones and started trading. He stayed for 20 years, never went back to roofing. I don't think he had a college degree."

Is it us or is there some sort of Green Acres remake to be done here?

In Finance Jobs; New York's Loss is Chicago's Gain [Chicago Tribune via DealBook/NYT]