Operations Market Commentary, Q4 2014

• Article by BRUIN Financial

Operations Market Commentary, Q4 2014

Market Overview

Q4 has continued to be a positive and buoyant quarter for Operations within both the permanent and temporary markets. Although Q4 can often present challenges with regards to bonus season, there remained consistent movement across various role functions as clients completed hiring strategies for 2015.

Competition for top tier talent continued to remain very strong with a significant number of candidates offered multiple positions. Bonus buy-outs became very common for some candidates whilst other employers were willing for successful talent to start after bonuses were received. Counter-offers continued to be an issue throughout Q4 as the market continues to move to a more candidate-driven state.

As a result of increasing competition, clients certainly became more flexible in considering candidates with slightly less experience but who showed potential and were a strong company fit. Although this angle can be more time consuming from a training perspective for an employer, it often results in clients employing talent at lower than expected salaries.

Towards the end of Q4, certain leading Banks and Asset Managers imposed a freeze on all recruitment, primarily due to budget limitations and Christmas timing restrictions. This seems to have been more of a short term solution resulting in increasing roles becoming available in January 2015.


Recruitment within Operations across both the temporary and permanent market will continue to be busy with clients realising that not all functions work effectively from a near shore and off shore perspective.

Upcoming bonus payments will certainly result in some movement within the market, with more candidates wanting to see what is being offered by other firms. This movement has already started to occur in the initial weeks of January 2015. Given recent market conditions, we predict that there will be an increasing number of FX and Commodities candidates across all role profiles looking for new opportunities.

Initial discussions with hiring managers across Investment Banking and Asset Management indicate that gender equality will be a primary focus for 2015 with a big drive towards female hires, particularly at the more senior level. The importance of progressing quickly through the hiring process will be very important in Q1 as we continue to move towards a more candidate driven market.

We expect to see increased optimism within the market in 2015 with several organisations looking to expand their respective organisations.

Role Profiles

Throughout Q4 there was certainly an increased demand for candidates for buy-side as opposed to sell-side positions. This was observed across several divisions throughout Asset Management where constant need to meet regulatory demand remains.

Similar to Q3, there was a continued requirement for talent within Asset Servicing across all levels, primarily due to the upcoming dividend season. In-line with broader market conditions there remained a strong focus on candidates with Dodd-Frank, EMIR or MIIFID experience where individuals with this knowledge were able to demand higher than anticipated salaries. This will continue to remain a strong focus for employers when considering their hiring needs for 2015.

Sales support, Product Analyst, Loans Agency and Trade Support have also been areas of strong demand throughout Q4. Employers have primarily been looking for candidates with Securities, Equity Derivatives and Interest Rates knowledge however there was some flexibility on this.

There has also been an increased number of roles coming through which overlap with other departments such as Compliance and Operations or Projects and Operations. It is understandable from an employers perspective the reasons for this need however sourcing candidates who satisfy both requirements can be somewhat challenging.

The variety in Operational roles available throughout Q4 resulted in a strong finish to 2014.