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Sales & Marketing Market Commentary, Q3 2015

• Article by BRUIN Financial

Sales & Marketing Market Commentary, Q3 2015

MARKET OVERVIEW

The financial services job market has been subject to a steady flow of vacancies during the third quarter; however we anticipate movement across the Sales and Marketing space on both permanent and temporary hires as year end and bonus season approaches.

Following on from last quarter’s discussion on the volume of digital marketing roles, Asset Management firms have been criticised for their lack of appreciation and practice of technology. Investment Management firms are being encouraged to embrace the digital presence in order to maintain engagement and delivery with investors. The high volume of digital roles released within the third quarter gives a true reflection of the necessity for further investment into the digital teams across Asset Management.

The ongoing debate on the diversity in the workplace has been reinforced with a hit on Asset Management firms since a study by State Street concluded that pension funds employ twice as many women in senior investment roles than asset management companies. The study demonstrated that women occupy 19 percent of senior investment roles at large institutional investors compared to the 7 percent of women in senior roles within asset management firms.

The findings should hopefully add pressure to the fund industry and ultimately improve gender equality within the Asset Management workplace.

Last week’s ‘Black Monday’ has been marked by the breaking news of foreign investors, mostly Saudis, pulling billions out of largest global asset management firms with strong ties to Gulf sovereign wealth funds. Saudi Arabia has been struggling to retain their foreign reserves since the oil prices started to decline last year. The big question is: ‘When will they come back?’ as some of the UK fund managers have been quite reliant on Gulf’s investments.

ROLE PROFILES

In Q3 2015 there has been an increased focus on strengthening teams from a senior management level as opposed to the hiring we experienced at the start of the year at executive and associate level. Sales teams are continuing to bulk out their regional operations in the UK and across mainland Europe as asset raising efforts remain high. From a marketing perspective we have seen movement across the board at senior level. Recruitment volumes of RFP Writers and Investment Communications professionals have remained high and usually with an urgency which is tough to match in the current market state. High quality candidates in this space continue to remain highly sought after and flexibility from a client perspective is often required to attract the calibre they desire.

An interesting trend that has emerged concerns the construction of sales teams. Typically teams have been structured in a way that places emphasis on a channel focus, specialist knowledge and targeted approach. Thus meaning the break down is achieved by target channel (Institutional, wholesale and retail). However with the emergence and proven success of smaller asset managers hiring generalists who have experience in distributing across all channels, larger firms are rethinking their structure and bulking out different areas in line with market trends.

Finally, from a product perspective there is still a large amount of noise within the market around Exchange Traded Funds, with questions being based around how they can be embedded in a portfolio and how to distribute. There are a few fund managers that continue to lead the way in this space however there is also the rise of a few smaller EFT specialists beginning to establish themselves in the market.

PREDICTIONS

Considering greater movement on the senior end of the market in Q3, we envisage Q4 being focused on reorganisations of teams and possibly adding further headcounts. As we are approaching the end of the year we predict the recruitment levels to remain steady and more focused on replacement hires.

Whilst the ETF market has remained buoyant globally, there are ongoing fears concerning the deteriorating economic conditions in BRIC’s which has so far led to $19bn worth of redemptions from emerging markets ETFs this year. ETF market leaders seem to be hopeful that the redemption will decrease as we move towards the end of the year. US Federal Reserve’s decision to possibly delay their increase in US interest rates would also help to minimise the negative implications and imped further redemptions, whilst fund managers still expect to see further volatility in emerging markets.

Despite the ongoing controversial news surrounding the ETF market, it remains on track for a record breaking year, achieving global net flows of $20.8bn in August. In the USA, the ETF market is worth over $80bn, however, within Europe ETF strategies are barely on the radar. With that in mind and in order to remain competitive ETF providers are beginning to increase their focus on the European market. This is an area of relatively untapped potential growth, which strategists believe will see significant development within the near future.