Whilst the results of the EU referendum loomed large over Q3, for the majority of our clients it has for the most part been ‘business as usual’ from a recruitment perspective. The invocation of Article 50 and the potential consequences has consumed the media, however with as yet an unclear view as to what adjustments will be needed to secure access to EU countries, the attitude of most hiring managers has been to focus on existing requirements whilst bolstering headcount in certain areas in a bid to retain assets and manage market volatility.
The one topic which almost eclipsed Brexit in the City was the announcement by one of the UK’s most prominent fund managers that it would no longer pay staff discretionary bonuses. Neil Woodford of Woodford Investment Management has described bonuses as “largely ineffective” in boosting performance and the company has instead switched to a salary and employee benefit plan. The news came as a number of firms are redefining their strategies and approach to compensation in order to retain staff, but it remains to be seen if the ‘Woodford effect’ will force other City firms to follow suit.
There has also been positive marketing activity such as Barings completing their merger with Babson Capital to create a multi-asset investment management firm, now standing at $275bn AUM. We have noted that the current market trend seems to favour the approach of merging and acquiring other investment houses as opposed to growing organically. With the competition strengthening, it seems that investment firms are more comfortable collaborating and standing as one entity – Société Générale becoming the majority owner of Kleinwort Benson is another example of this.
The result of the EU referendum also proved to be a golden opportunity for some hedge funds to capitalise on the market uncertainty that occurred in the immediate aftermath. Although some hedge funds benefited from a quick win, they still face a challenging market ahead due to their steep costs and performance. Investor pulled an estimated $25.2 billion from hedge funds last month, highlighting the consistent challenge they face in an unpredictable market.
Marketing: Role Profile
We have also witnessed marketing hires across Head Of / Senior and Mid levels in content marketing, channel marketing, PR and digital:
- Head of EMEA/International Marketing- we have seen several roles at this level emerging as firms are refocusing their strategies to Europe and overseas. Candidates with strong campaign and content marketing background with experience leading marketing teams in mainland Europe and additional language skills have been particularly been sought after.
- Channel Marketing (Europe) – there is significant demand across all levels specifically with fluency in additional European languages.
- Direct Marketing- since the D2C platform has
gained popularity amongst a range of asset management firms, the demand for specialist D2C marketers has increased. A number of companies are now launching D2C marketing propositions within investment management to engage with the end retail client.
- Market Insight Specialists- rather then general marketers, analytical market researchers were sought for throughout Q3. Their experience in demand generation and market analysis is a fundamental factor when market and product mapping.
- PR Executives/ Managers- the PR space has been particularly busy with firms looking for PR professional across all levels, but with specific channel or product experience in order to bulk up their European PR teams.
Sales: Roles Profile
Sales recruitment has remained as unpredictable and inconsistent as earlier in the year, we have however seen the most activity across:
- Regional Intermediary/Advisory Sales – a number of companies have been searching for candidates to be based within the regions to target the local IFA markets, regions in specific demand have been the North, South West and the Midlands.
- Strategic Partners Sales – a variety of organisations have been recruiting for candidates to be London based and manage their top end relationships with head office IFA’s and platforms from a strategic partnership perspective
- Consultant Relations – This has been a very popular space this year as we have seen a number of hires across the board at all levels including movers at Global Head level and at more junior levels.
- Discretionary Sales – we have seen a number of companies looking for London based discretionary sales people to manage relationships with the growing number of discretionary wealth managers.
Moving into the final quarter of 2016 there are two main areas that particular attention should be paid to; first one being the expansion of regional sales teams. As highlighted previously, the opportunity to increase the physical presence of firm’s salesforce is one which numerous companies are investing in currently. We expect this trend to continue particularly in mainland Europe in order for firms to consolidate and build upon their presence across the Channel. On the other hand, due to the referendum result and uncertainty that surrounds the current financial services market; we expect to see a percentage of European candidates migrate back to mainland Europe.
The second main area is a growing trend for individual investors, and particularly millennials, to invest directly through investment platforms such as Nutmeg and Hargreaves Lansdown. This is in turn having a direct impact on the financial adviser market. We have observed an increasing number of asset managers exploring the development of their Direct to Consumer proposition (D2C), with a view to establish greater access to the direct market. This has increased the interest in the Robo-Advice channel (which is far more developed in USA and Australia), to identify customer needs and develop risk weighted fund portfolios without the costs associated with advisers. We predict that this will certainly continue to increase the popularity of marketing candidates with direct marketing experience at all levels.