The Finance & Accountancy market saw a positive evolution in the second quarter of the year, especially when compared to the number of roles released by our clients in the first quarter. Although we saw consistent activity across Asset Management, Investment Banking and Insurance, our Buy Side clients have been slightly more active in comparison to other segments of the wider Financial Services industry. Demand was evenly spread among Permanent and Temp positions, however the Contract space has been experiencing some anomalies for this time of year as a result of the upcoming changes related to IR35 that are due to take effect in Q2 of 2020.
Across Investment Banking our clients have been releasing a significantly higher number of Contract positions with candidates sought for positions in various areas of specialism, most notably within the Regulatory Reporting, Statutory Reporting and FP&A functions. We observed that the majority of the Contract roles sat in BAU (business as usual) teams and generally represented replacement hires as opposed to growth related hires. However, there was lower demand for candidates in the Project space, as most of our Investment Banking clients had previously filled those positions in Q1.
Permanent recruitment on the Sell Side was relatively consistent with Q1. We saw continued demand for Internal Audit and FP&A professionals with niche knowledge, as well as a number of roles requiring Newly Qualified Accountants with a background in auditing Capital Markets and Financial Services organisations but little in the Product Control, Regulatory Reporting or Treasury teams.
Whilst our large Investment Banking clients generally opted to continue hiring day rate Contractors, our Asset Management clients preferred the Fixed Term Contract route. There has been a massive increase in roles hired on a Fixed Term basis, primarily as a result of the previously mentioned IR35 uncertainty. In the Temp space, Buy Side clients recruited at diverse seniority levels, with roles ranging from Finance Assistants to Head of FP&A or Financial Control positions.
When looking at the Permanent market, Asset Management clients have definitely been more active than the Investment Banking organisations, as they requested a significant number of senior candidates at VP level and above, with salaries on offer ranging from £70k to £100k. The demand was a lot more diversified on the Buy Side, as clients sought FP&A, Fund Accounting, Audit and Financial Control professionals. Successful candidates possessed specific experience such as knowledge of Irish Funds or Real Estate funds of similar nature.
There has been a significant increase in the number of FP&A roles released by both Asset Management firms as well as Sell Side organisations. This trend has been observed across the Permanent and Temp markets, with roles ranging from Junior MI or FP&A Analyst positions paying £40k-£45k to more senior Business Partnering or FP&A roles offering in excess of £70k.
Firms preferred candidates that could demonstrate mixed knowledge of both Cost and Revenue, with a slight advantage for those with solid experience of the latter. Junior candidates that possessed advanced Excel skills, combined with strong interpersonal and stakeholder management abilities, were in high demand. We also saw a constant flow of junior accounting roles released across the board, including FTC, day rate and permanent position.
Buy Side firms continued to strengthen their back office functions as the Internal Audit, Fund Control and Fund Accounting roles released resulted in an intense period for Permanent recruitment. Our Asset Management clients released an unexpectedly high number of Financial Control positions on a Fixed Term basis.
As the majority of bonuses have been paid earlier in Q1, we believe that this increase is a direct result of the natural recruitment cycle, with Permanent candidates at that level moving towards more senior opportunities at similar organisations. Most roles were initially released as Fixed Term contracts for 12 months and our clients requested versatile individuals that could be available at short notice and generally with a number of years experience working for competing or similar institutions. Successful candidates possessed a combination of technical accounting knowledge and demonstrated excellent communication and stakeholder management capacities during the interview process.
Our Investments Banking clients showed a solid interest in recruiting experienced Internal Audit professionals to bolster their Permanent ranks. Whilst in the past our clients showed a certain degree of flexibility in relation to the background of candidates, we observed an increase in specialisation and the need for niche knowledge such as Credit Risk or Regulatory Reporting. As a result, the salaries on offer were higher than in the past.
With the IR35 reform set to come into place soon, we have already begun to see some effects. In the contracting market, there has been an increase in fixed-term contract opportunities, ranging from 6-month to 12-month FTC roles. However, HMRC is still consulting on how to finalise the new legislation and BRUIN has been taking a proactive approach and planning for multiple scenarios and working with our clients to tailor to them and their process, to ensure a smooth transition for all contractors.
We expect the demand for Newly Qualified candidates to stay strong, for both Permanent and Temporary roles.
In order to mitigate the potential risk of a disorderly Brexit, some clients will continue to move part of their businesses to mainland Europe but we believe that the majority of Senior positions will still be kept in London and we are looking forward to a busy Q3, for both Permanent and Contract recruitment.
For more information about the market or current opportunities please contact one of our Consultants.