After a turbulent 2020, Global Equities started the new year positively as COVID-19 Vaccine rollouts motored along in the UK, US and in Europe. The NASDAQ and Dow Jones continued to test all-time high’s throughout the quarter, whilst the FTSE100 rose on the back of an extremely efficient Vaccination programme but dropped in the latter parts of the quarter due to hopes of early travel and leisure reopening faded. ‘Green’ Energy stocks rebounded from their significant rise in Q4, as the ESG investing momentum slowed. Translating this into Bruin’s new mandates, leading Asset Managers have increased their demand for Equity Analysts and Junior Equity Traders.
Government Bond yields were seen to rise significantly in the first quarter of the year as investors sought to achieve safer returns, potentially as a result of ESG Equities falling off. UK 10 Year Gilt yields rose from 0.18% to above 0.7% – a level not seen since 2019 – whilst the US 10 Year Treasury yield accelerated past 1%, to close the quarter above 1.5%. Bruin has received several mandates in the Fixed Income space in the form of Portfolio Analysts, Investment Directors and Performance Analysts as a result, with investors seeking alternatives to Equity markets to secure positive returns in the future.
With investors pushing forever more for higher returns and safer investments, the Alternative Investments space has seen particular increase in demand. Bruin has predominantly received mandates in the Real Estate and Hedge Fund Investments space this quarter as a result. Firms are seeking to build out there Alternative Investment offerings to keep up with the additional demand. This has ranged from Junior Portfolio Management Analysts within Real Estate to Real Asset Portfolio Managers.
The volume of jobs picked up rapidly at the start of Q1 2021. We saw a push on hiring in the product development and product strategy space across all asset classes and with a particular focus on Fixed Income and Alternatives. Due to SFDR becoming applicable in March 2021 all the roles in product had a requirement for candidates to have a strong understanding of ESG implications and also to be focussed on this within a product role for the first 6 months of joining a firm.
Performance continued to be a focus area for the team for both permanent and contract hires and there has been a need and focus on Fixed Income individuals but also for candidates to have strong technical skills and be able to use SQL, VBA and in some instances Python to enhance and improve processes and work on projects within teams.
Within the front office we have seen a number of trading opportunities at both a junior and a mid-level and continue to see Junior Portfolio Management roles within Fixed Income opportunities come to market in Q1. In the PM space, the focus remains on hiring strong talent to pipeline for the future and ideally add diversity to teams. The challenge for these roles has been finding strong candidates who have good programming skills to add value to teams.
Q1 has seen a renewed focus on hiring into Real Assets and Real estate. Across the board we have seen roles in performance and ESG with a RE/RA focus but also analyst hires and management hires. Firms have also focussed on adding individuals with a portfolio management background in RE and candidates who have a solid background of managing assets across a range of sectors (office, retail and Industrial) have been the focus for our clients.
We expect Q2 to be a positive but cautious one as a third COVID-19 wave storms through Europe, whilst the UK and the US ramp up their Vaccination programmes. With markets overcoming the worst of it and Governments providing support in business re-openings, we expect Investment recruitment drives to continue as they have done in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, after a quieter first three quarters of 2020. However, we expect firms to re-open their offices as restrictions are eased and a lot more consideration into flexible working will need to be taken in order to secure top talent going forward as working from home has become the new normal.