Insights

Investment & Middle Office

INVESTMENT & MIDDLE OFFICE MARKET COMMENTARY Q2, 2018

• Article by BRUIN Financial

INVESTMENT & MIDDLE OFFICE MARKET COMMENTARY Q2, 2018

MARKET OVERVIEW

Q2 has continued to be busy across the asset management sector with a steady flow of roles as firms react to macro market conditions. The responses to these influences can be broadly characterised by three main trends across the industry; From restructuring product portfolios, to streamlining operations, and delivering technology-inspired customer experiences designed for the digital era.

The priorities for the larger investment management firms in meeting these objectives have been to focus on scale, price, diversity and technological capabilities, whilst the smaller, specialist firms have turned their attention to providing excellent investment performance and service. But regardless of the size of institution, it is apparent that these initiatives have influenced the type of requirements we have seen over the last 3 – 6 months.

 

ROLE PROFILES

Front Office:

There has been both natural attrition and growth within front office teams over the last quarter, but the greatest demand has been for Investment Specialists, particularly for Fixed Income and Multi Asset products. As Brexit continues to dominate the headlines, these roles have typically required European languages with firms allocating dedicated resource to this function, in addition to meeting growing institutional client preference for technical investment knowledge to be presented and discussed in their own language. These roles are mainly client facing but we have also seen roles which work alongside teams and investment desks internally to produce analysis in reports and presentations.

Responsible investing is another significant trend in as clients look for sustainable opportunities with long term returns, and we have seen the demand for ESG Analysts rise dramatically over the last quarter. As a consequence, good candidates with prior experience working in ESG are also seeing their salaries rise, fuelled by this demand. This area has also been popular on the contract side and as multiple clients have recruited in this space, candidates have been able to command higher day rates. In fact, some candidates have managed to secure up to a 90% increase on their total earnings having moved from permanent to contract positions.

Middle office:

Fixed Income Analytics and Performance candidates have remained high on the priority list for Asset Managers, and we have seen multiple hires within these areas. Many firms have also been taking contractors within Performance teams to focus on specific projects including developing and changing current systems.

In the last quarter the busiest area for us was in Client Implementation/ Client On Boarding. We have had over six Asset Management firms hiring in this area, building unique teams to cater to their clients’ distinct needs.

Within this area we have seen new teams created where historically the client service team would cover the on-boarding piece. In these teams they have hired candidates with projects experience who will join the firm and build out a new on-boarding framework. We have also noted several firms with established teams have added headcount to cover BAU activities and replace team members who have moved on.

Additionally firms are creating ever more niche and specialized on boarding roles, perhaps covering a particular fund, jurisdiction or client type. This increased specialisation and high demand for quality candidates has also caused a knock-on effect and pushed salaries higher. With one individual who had two years experience within implementation who notably gained an increase on base salary from  late forties to early sixties. This shows that competition for talent is strong, with firms willing to up the stakes. 

 

PREDICTIONS

As summer finally approaches there is a sense of Brexit-fuelled anticipation in the City, and with this there will certainly be a few more exploratory expeditions to Dublin than last year. We also predict a spike in contract recruitment as clients will opt for this route if they do decide to offshore presence in the transitionary period.

We anticipate that sustainable investing will continue to be a hot topic in the months to come and the response to interest and demand will be an increase in candidates wanting to gain ESG experience and consequently up their market value.

 

BRUIN NEWS

BRUIN were awarded the ‘Recruiter of the Year’ category at the 2018 Women in Finance Awards, which recognises the firm that has championed equal pay and diversity in financial recruitment. BRUIN was particularly commended for leading change in the industry and providing insightful counsel to help their clients achieve fair gender representation at every level.

From a recruitment perspective, BRUIN has recently opened an office in Dublin in partnership with local firm Barden, to provide high quality specialist recruitment services into the Irish financial services sector. For more information on our Irish capability, please contact Kirsty Pineger, who heads up our Investment & Middle Office desk, as well as our team in Ireland.

We are also delighted to have been recognised by the  Sunday Times as a Best 100 Small Company to Work For in the UK, and additionally ranked in the list for London.