Throughout 2016, the UK experienced a lot of uncertainty and it’s fair to say that the market has suffered a considerable change, despite businesses advocating a “business as usual approach”.
Having said that, the final quarter of 2016 has been unusually active. During this time of year it is typical for asset managers and banks to focus on promotions and budgeting for the year ahead which usually means lower demand on the hiring front. We have however seen a steady flow of newly created and replacement hires, which surely sets a positive tone for the start of the 2017.
Brexit has surprisingly played little part on the signoff process as we have witnessed recruitment needs across Sales & Marketing. Naturally there have been implications for the perception and stability of financial services from a marketing perspective, resulting in asset managers bulking their Marketing and PR teams.
The demand for native European language speakers has been a consistent trend throughout 2016, in particularly Italian, German and Spanish speaking candidates. This is certainly down to the need for firms to bulk out their UK based teams to ensure a continued and smooth distribution effort across the Pan-Europe.
We have also seen an increased demand for candidates at the mid to senior level with Marketing Services skillset who would be instrumental in supporting the distribution function as a whole. The need for Investment Content and Technical Writers has also increased towards the end of 2016 and we envisage this area to continue growing in the coming years. The current expectations from clients are for candidates who can not only produce high level content, but also a have strong understanding of the full marketing mix and the channels that can be used to distribute timely and relevant content.
Following on from the political change in the UK, the build up to the US elections had a fairly minor effect on recruitment. The majority of UK driven houses continued with their recruitment needs, however, some larger US institutions adopted a cautious approach towards their process of hiring.
With the long awaited results of the US elections, a number of processes were delayed towards the end of Q4, which we predict, could lead to an influx of hires in Q1 of 2017.
Despite the uncertainty the financial markets have faced this year, we have seen positive growth with the announcements and completions of several mergers and acquisitions. Barings Asset Management successfully completed their merger with three boutique managers creating a firm with $260bn AUM. Mirroring Barings success, Janus Capital announced that they will be merging with Henderson Group in a bid to create a $320bn AUM firm; whilst Private Bank, Brewin Dolphin, recently announced that they are acquiring Duncan Lawrie.
One of the most prolonged stories this quarter has been the eventual sale of Pioneer Investments from UniCredit to the French Asset Manager Amundi. The amalgamation process of small to medium asset management firms has become somewhat of a pattern in 2016, amongst a number of institutions, allowing firms to stand as an independent entity and promote organic growth. The number of growing medium size independent investment management firms has also increased in Q4 of 2016 and we foresee this trend continuing in 2017.
Movers & Shakers
Some significant individual moves have also occurred within the past 3 months, with the Head of UK Distribution at Amundi moving to Lombard Odier Investment Management; Aberdeen brining on board several senior hires to their Global Distribution team; and the Head of UK Sales at Legg Mason moving to Allianz Global Investors. It would be prudent to say that the end of the year has been a time for a number of senior distribution moves in preparation for 2017.