Two financial trainees at Smith Barney in New York City have stumbled onto a niche market that they feel is helping people in these dire economic times in a special way. Advisors Dion Baez and Jared Zolna are reaching out to people losing their jobs and helping them roll over or access their company-sponsored 401(k)s.

Helping others in the shrinking financial field led them to former employees of Linens and Things when it closed stores, which led to former Circuit City employees who were losing their jobs. Their outreach has extended from New York City and the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to include other coastal states and then those from the auto industry in the Midwest.


"I feel a little like a vulture, but these are the people who need help right now," says Baez. "They are middle managers or managers who have been making anywhere from $50,000 a year to the mid six figures, but now suddenly they are out of a job."

The trend started about six months ago and is still growing as the economy continues to shrink, he says.

"We have a special partnership with job recruiters off all types now. They refer clients to us and we pass along resumes to them to try to help people get new jobs," Baez says.


"The first hurdle for the clients is financial education. Until now, most have let the company do the investing for them. Now they have many choices when they roll over their 401(k)s to some type of IRA and they can select the investments" with a professional, he says.