Recruitment within Asset Management over the last quarter has continued at a slow but steady pace, which is usual for this time of year. Usually we see an upturn in recruitment as we move out of the summer period, the last few weeks have proved this; however with the volatility in world Stock Markets hires in Q4 could be adversely affected.
We have noticed that hiring within organisations where there has been large AUM outflows has been flat, however other companies with increased AUM have of course needed to expand in order to accommodate client demands. The roles worked have been spread broadly across levels of seniority and areas, the key places we have seen movement are highlighted below. The outlook within businesses is generally positive.
We have seen an upturn in the amount of performance related roles, especially in the attribution/analytics side. Strong performance candidates with the focus on key Excel skills leading into the attribution/risk space have been focused on. Classically these roles are more attractive to candidates as they have the capacity to move into Investment Liaison and Junior Product Specialist positions, as well as Fund Manager Assistant roles due to their strong analytical ability. Sourcing mid to high level Performance candidates is challenging as many wish to move into a front office or risk role imminently, whereas finding junior level candidates is relatively simple, as many clients require little experience other than a numerical degree and excellent Excel skills (VBA, etc)
There has been a steady flow of Client Reporting roles, and there continues to be a turnover of staff in this area. This is due to a variety of factors, such as long working hours and an often pressurised workload, coupled with a lack of role variety as the larger companies look to streamline the reporting process.
There has also been a continued increase in the expansion of teams in the Client Onboarding and Implementation space. This seems to be an area which many Asset Management firms are looking to develop, in an effort to improve the onboarding process and increase client satisfaction. Interestingly there have been many product specific onboarding roles highlighting the specialist technical knowledge which is needed in these positions. The roles often call for candidates from transitions teams who, although are fairly sparse, are often keen to move into a more client facing position.
Institutional Client Servicing has been a reliable area with a steady influx of roles over the quarter. These roles have seen a fair amount of movement as candidates have grown more confident to look to move to another firm for a new challenge. The salary levels have been pushed to the limit as a lack of specialism in certain roles have seen candidates move for big upticks in basic salary.
An interesting and topical area of movement has been the Defined Contribution Pensions space. Many Asset Management firms are looking to expand this area in 2016. Key focus has been on Market Research and Product Development, with others more established in the space moving to increase infrastructure behind them (including Client Service and Implementation) to ensure they are able to cope with increased client activity in this area. Sourcing for these roles initially proved challenging as suitable DC experience can be rare; however increased awareness of the expanding industry has meant key firms have emerged which can be used to source individuals.
For the next quarter, we predict that the market will pick up in terms of movement and volume of positions. We expect to see a greater emphasis on the equities space, as many Portfolio Managers are gradually switching allocations away from fixed income to equities.