Today is Veterans Day and we are honouring those who have served our country.
And while we think our veterans, it’s important to also remember that the unemployment rate for military vets is sky high compared with the civilian unemployment rate in the U.S.
As military servicemen and women transition off active duty, they are faced with an extremely challenging job environment, especially if they want to go work in the super competitive financial services industry.
Academy Securities, a FINRA registered broker-dealer/financial services firm, is combating the military unemployment rate by hiring and training military veterans.
The San Diego headquartered firm, which was established in 2009, employs veterans and service-disabled veterans in areas such as investment banking and trading.
“There is a need out there. It’s difficult for a military veteran to get into financial services. The skill sets don’t translate immediately just given the nature of the military. It is something that is needed because those skill sets can be translated into the private sector. That’s what we’re here to do. This is our part of the equation — help combat the unemployment rate,” Academy Securities CEO Chance Mims said in a telephone interview with Business Insider.
Mims, who served in the U.S. Navy, explained that the advantage of hiring a military vet is that you get someone with crucial business skills such as leadership (especially in stress environments), attention to detail, discipline, teamwork and loyalty, just to name a few.
Photo: AP Images
“I think when you talk about financial services, our industry — or any industry — can benefit from the high moral standards and commitment from these returning veterans. It can’t help but be a good thing. We strongly believe our returning veterans can do that not only for Academy, but for the financial services industry and our economy as a whole,” Academy Securities’ president Phil McConkey told Business Insider.McConkey, who also served in the U.S. Navy, segued his military career into a career in pro football as a wide-receiver for the New York Giants among other NFL teams.
“I think that the traits and the skills I learned in the military — the structure and discipline — served me well in professional football in an extremely competitive environment. So it applied to professional sports and it applied to my business life.”
In the business world, Military vets can handle pretty much any workplace challenge, McConkey explained.
For example, one of the toughest things people in financials services have to do is cold call people. It can be nerve-wracking.
“As humans we have apprehension, it’s hard. So you think about it with these returning veterans, ‘What’s the hardest thing they’ve been doing?’ Learning how to avoid roadside bombs and bullets.”
So for a military vet, cold calling would be easy and so would a lot of workplace challenges.
Academy Securities, which received a $4 million subordinated loan from JPMorgan to help expand its business, is aiming to have 50-50 mix of both industry veterans and military veterans. Right now, about 40% of its 24 employees are military vets.
What’s more is Academy Securities focuses primarily on the post 9/11 veteran group, which has the highest unemployment rate currently.
“Whenever a job opens up, first and foremost, it’s open to a military veteran,” Mims said.
He added that the diversity of having industry veterans and military veterans has made for great team dynamic.
“We’ve seen that work very well,” Mims said, “We’ve seen that dynamic of a team adding value to what we do and what we do for our clients. It’s not a charity operation by any means. The men and women that we hire have these skill sets to be successful in the financial services world,” Mims said.
“It’s a very simple message. Not only is it patriotic, but it’s a smart business move.”
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