Charles Gradante knew he would have to learn new skills when he left banking for a career in asset management. But he never figured making coffee would be one of them.

Mr. Gradante forfeited many amenities of the banking life when he signed on as a co-director at Weiss, Peck & Greer's Hennessee Hedge Fund Advisory Group. The former president and chief executive of Union Chelsea National Bank in New York, Mr. Gradante now works in an office less than half the size of his old one. He once supervised 500; now he oversees a staff of fewer than 15.

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