It’s been an exceptionally busy start to 2022 on the Credit, Risk and Quant desk at Bruin. It would be no exaggeration to say that, for roles ranging from entry level up to senior manager/VP level, pretty much all of our clients have reached out at some point in the past three months to discuss open headcounts across all our areas of coverage. We’ve also had the privilege of working on a selection of key hires at director/head of level. This exceptional level demand has been sustained all the way through the quarter, and shows no sign of letting up moving into Q2 now that variable compensation has been paid throughout the majority of the City, triggering the usual wave of resignations.
The past two years has seen the job market undergo a significant paradigm shift as a result of Covid. It’s important that hiring firms appreciate that what may have worked from a recruitment perspective in 2020, when there was an abundance of candidates looking for a limited number of roles, is unlikely to bear fruit in 2022 now that the candidate demand greatly exceeds supply. Delays in interview processes, lowballing candidates on salaries and agencies on fees, engaging an excessive number of agencies on the same vacancy, and not being flexible around such pertinent issues as remote/hybrid working, have proven to be barriers to successful hiring in the current market. We strongly encourage firms to take heed of these issues, and be proactive around addressing them, and are of course open to discussion on how we can help solve these problems.
In reaction to the strong demand in the market, we have expanded our team, and welcomed both Peter Morgan and Rebecca Maimon to the fold recently as researchers working with candidates across buy-side risk management (UK and USA) and the quantitative analytics and research spaces respectively.
Buy side risk:
From an investment risk perspective, Q1 saw a number of larger asset management firms hire across front line, asset class specific investment risk, investment risk oversight, and hybrid positions incorporating elements of portfolio construction. With firms often competing for the same talent, it has been important for firms to move quickly and decisively to secure hires.
From an operational risk perspective, there has been significant demand for skills pertaining to business continuity and operational resilience. A lot of firms have spent the past couple of years implementing change programs for these purposes, and now the demand has turned to candidates who can help run these processes BAU.
Sell side risk:
Q1 saw high demand across investment banking for candidates with leveraged finance experience at VP level. Hiring candidates with direct experience in this market has proved challenging. We also saw significant demand at VP level for candidates from regulatory backgrounds in CVA, IMM, and Basel 4 as banks look to build out more granular teams to face off to the PRA and other international regulatory bodies.
Similarly to the buy side, operational resilience hiring was on the agenda for a lot of firms in relation to regulatory deadlines at the end of the quarter. From an information security perspective, we are seeing a number of more technical roles (architects, engineers etc) being incorporated into traditional operational risk teams.
Perhaps the biggest trend of the past quarter has been the enormous increase in volume hiring from an investment banking perspective across both front office and analytics/validation functions. Every asset class has been busy, but FICC in particular notably so. In addition to more traditional derivative classes, we’ve also seen significant demand for quants from algo trading backgrounds to work in investment banks, prop trading firms and fintech organizations.
There are a lot of hybrid positions within the market risk analytics space currently which require both computer science/software engineering skills as well as financial mathematics and model domain knowledge. This comes as banks look at revaluation of their market risk models in line with FRTB requirements. The last candidate we placed of this background at VP level had four separate offers on the table at the same time, which shows clearly the demand.
On the buy side, we have seen a number of firms in both asset management and systematic hedge fund pace look to make senior hires in equities. We are also seeing a number of firms who have traditionally been more fundamental in their investment outlook look to hire senior quants to help incorporate data analytics into their investment decision making.
Over the past quarter we have taken on a number of mandates from both buy and sell side clients pertaining to climate risk. This groundswell of new vacancies has been driven by several factors, from business continuity in the light of changes in physical environment, to factors driven by regulatory obligations and the desire to promote responsible and sustainable investment and lending.
As this area is in its relative infancy, firms are having to make themselves open to candidates from a variety of different backgrounds, and in some cases are hiring in talent directly from meteorological academic and industry backgrounds with no prior experience of finance. We are actively consulting with a number of clients on hiring in this area, so please get in touch with one of our consultants if this is an area of growth in your business.
Bruin’s first in person event of 2022, “Advancing Black Women in Financial Services” was recently held in partnership with networking group Black Women in Asset Management (BWAM), an industry association that promotes the retention and advancement of Black women working in asset management.
Attendees from across financial services came together to learn about the latest research on creating inclusive organisations for Black women, how to remove the barriers blocking progression in the industry and BWAM’s transformative Leadership Accelerator programme.
We were delighted to be joined by Chair and Co-Founder of BWAM, Jacqueline Taiwo, who took part in panel discussion moderated by Emily Ayre, MD of Bruin, with representatives from Delta Alpha Psi and Ferdisha Snagg, Counsel at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, to discuss the impact of the BWAM Leadership Accelerator course and perspectives on how senior leaders in asset management can create work environments that provide equitable opportunities for Black women to advance and thrive.