The renewed confidence in the Financial Services market has been buoyed by the positive results posted by such banks as RBS and Lloyds. Small indicators such as the rise in need of newly qualified ACAs into the banking market suggests that the wheels are once again beginning to turn in the Financial Services market. In what would historically have been expected to be a sluggish quarter we saw our busiest Q4 on record, with many big names on both the buy and sell side releasing positions well into December. The overall indications from Heads of Finance are that 2014 has all the signs of being the strongest since 2009 and we are expecting record levels of recruitment. 2014 has been earmarked by Senior Investment Bankers as the year that sees the return of high profile deals and the return to ‘normal trading’.
With the implementation of CRDIV this January and PRA last April there is a constant requirement for experienced Regulatory Reporters with both a Capital and Liquidity background and ideally a combination of the two.
However the renewed buoyancy in the market means that the best candidates at all levels are being snapped up quickly and the market is starting to become candidate driven. The houses that have most successfully secured the best talent are the ones that have not only run the most efficient and streamlined interview process but have consistently sold the opportunity to the candidate during this process.
Even though there has been marked improvement in the Investment Banking Recruitment market there is still an atmosphere of uncertainty and a message we continually hear is a desire to move from the sell side to the buy side.
Within product control we are finding Fixed Income product experience is very in demand with our clients. The need for technical candidates has also seen a substantial increase within Finance. Companies are less inclined to train candidates and very much want to hire candidates who are able to bring technical experience to the role from day 1. Salaries that are offered are very conservative and companies are unwilling to get into a bidding war. Regulatory Reporters, however, have seen an increase in salaries within the banking sector. This is because banks are keen to retain staff, being an area which is particularly busy due to a continued emphasis on regulation. Even when candidates have been offered new positions, clients in this space are offering competitive buy backs as the market is so hugely competitive. Another problem our clients are finding is that they are up against extortionate daily rates, so not only are there a lack of permanent candidates within the market, the permanent candidates who have the necessary skillset are being tempted by the highly lucrative contract market. We are finding hiring is predominantly been focused at the associate level, with Qualified candidates with 2-3 years post qualified experience being highly in demand. These candidates are difficult to attract because they are being looked after internally and excellent candidates are being given internal opportunities in Front Office and other highly sought after roles.
There have been a number of control positions on both the product and valuations side have struggled to find candidates because so few have been promoted in the last two years. AVP candidates are refusing to move sideways and are therefore lacking the management responsibility.
January saw a thriving start to the year and we are sure that this will continue for the next few months. With bonus payouts and promotion news (or lack of) already happening, we have seen an increase in applications and a desire to move and see what other firms are offering. With the best candidates we often have to contend with multiple offers and counter-offers from their existing firms so, as mentioned briefly above, the best way to compete with this is to move quickly once a good candidate has been identified and to proactively sell the opportunity to them.