Following an active start to the year, recruitment across the buy-side remained buoyant in Q2. Most notably, a number of attractive senior roles were released as a result of internal moves, drawing some impressive passive candidates to the market.
With a candidate led market there is inevitably strong competition for top tier talent, typically resulting in aggressive counter-offers. However, it is rarely the case that salary increases are enough of an incentive for candidates to accept a counter-offer, and this year we have seen a growing trend of offering additional inducements, including internal moves to the front office.
The contract market remained steady during the first half of Q2 and a large volume of roles were released towards the end of the quarter, with asset managers responsible for the majority of demand. The US asset managers in particular recruited heavily to support their global product range client base, with a slight increase in activity within 3rd parties to maintain headcount, e.g. pricing & corporate actions at entry to mid-level.
There was strong demand for derivatives knowledge in the trade support area and we also saw significant hiring into the asset servicing area and the collateral space, with clients more and more open to candidates with banking backgrounds.
Strong data candidates were also in high demand as asset managers sought to bolster their data areas, and there was notable movement in the reconciliations area, a skillset which is hard to find in London as many of these roles have been offshored at larger asset managers.
On the banking side we saw considerable movement now that bonuses are out of the way, with substantial hiring in the equities area as some banks created additional headcount to strengthen teams.
Regulatory reporting has remained an area in high demand on both the buy and sell sides at various levels, with regulatory knowledge remaining a highly sought after skill-set. There has been particularly high demand for strong candidates at the AVP and VP levels; good people are well looked after and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find well rounded candidates coming through at these levels as the functions they would normally gain their experience at a junior level have been moved offshore.
On the contract side, similarly to Q1, collateral management, ISDA negotiation and regulatory reporting were amongst the most in demand areas with highest volumes last quarter, both on the banking and asset management side.
This has been mainly triggered by the upcoming regulations such as MiFID II as well as requirements post UMR (Uncleared Margin Rules). With multiple opportunities in this space at the same time,candidates frequently benefited from multiple offers, so it was often the clients with the most expedient process who were able to secure the best talent.
The start of Q3 is always met with the usual hurdles of annual leave and protracted processes. However, in truth recruitment levels tend not to differ, it is simply a question of working around delayed decision making and ensuring both parties are appraised of any potential issues. On the whole, given the volume of roles have remained consistent in Q1 & Q2 there are no reasons to suggest that this won’t continue.
Lastly – some candidates, particular those that are passive – will have one eye on their 2017 bonus especially if they are on 3 months notice. At this stage of the year it is far too early for a potential employer to have to worry about that, however this sometimes drives the best candidates underground so there can be less of a pool of suitable candidates for certain roles.
On the contract side as the markets shift to a phase of ‘Brexit planning’, a lot of permanent BAU staff will be moving into these strategic programes to join the projects and change team which will only result in more volume of contract work to backfill the line roles next quarter.