The first quarter of 2015 was welcomed with a reasonably steady flow in the financial job market as the chaotic recruitment period carried well on into the New Year. Candidates now await their highly anticipated bonus as April draws to a close whilst a majority of Asset Management and Banking firms have already initiated there internal staff promotions.
Considering the movement within Banks and Asset management firms, The Financial Times has reported a selection of male heavy promotions and engagement within the first quarter of the New Year. The continuing political debate on gender diversity has broadened to a new finding through MSCI research which concluded that boards with more women have lower risk for investors. A source told Financial Times: “Companies that are more concerned about managing extra financial risks are more likely to appoint female directors”.
The discussion on gender diversity has most certainly been a consistent topic throughout the first quarter with a following report on the decline of female fund managers. The FT reported that the number of women managing assets in the US has surprisingly fallen over the past six years and continues to fall every year. The data concluded that female portfolio managers now account for less than 7 per cent of the total money managers running mutual funds, emphasising the decline in female fund managers.
Furthermore, ongoing debate on the benefits or ETFs has been carried on in Q1 of 2015. Founder of ETF leader Vanguard, John Bogle, has warned investors of ETF’s, claiming that they only benefit brokers and dealers. Bogle’s statement came as a shock to investors as the increase of bank costs earlier this month made ETF’s even more attractive to the wider marker. Subsequently, Bogle’s attack on ETF’s has made investors question its authenticity and future.
Lastly, a New Year elucidates a new era in technology, and with that is the new Investment mobile app which will play as an alternative to banks and asset managers. The app will serve as a bridge between savings and investments to insure constant communication between investor and funds. Despite Google’s study in integrating the app into the fund market, the app has received controversial responses due to its security and function which has led to a further discussion on cyber-crime. Investors may be sceptical about using the app and selling funds securely due to the evolvement of fraud tech which. More positively, we predict a high demand for Digital candidates due to the digital purpose of the app.
The market has taken off, as expected, in a buoyant fashion in Q1 of 2015. We have seen the movement we predicted across the board in the distribution space. We have observed a general trend in traditional American and British Asset Managers attempting to increase their global scope. The Firms have been growing their European offering at this stage and hiring both on the marketing side to raise their profile and on the sales side to fund raise for the region. We have seen hiring at all levels in this space but initially being lead at managerial level.
In terms of product coverage, there has been the typical across the board focus; however we have observed an increasingly heavy emphasis on the growing ETF space. ETF providers are being dubbed as ‘the future of investment management’ are setting their sights on the global market and not holding back on hiring the employees necessary to achieve this goal. This has translated to both sales and marketing hires and a particular focus on product specific knowledge and junior salespeople with desire to grow in this space. Investment writers remain in high demand in both Asset Managers and Hedge Funds with a focus on writers with strong fixed income knowledge.
As the wave of innovation continues the flow through the UK economy as a whole the Asset Management space appears to be following suit. Digital innovation looks to be driving the evolution. Banking has lead the way on the move from desktop to mobile, however Asset Management now also appears to be investing heavily in their digital marketing departments and looking upon these departments to promote funds and services and gain market following primarily in the retail investor space. The long-short of this is an increase of digital marketing and web management roles.
The issue with bankers’ bonuses has been an on-going political topic. We anticipate a heated debate in the job market during the bonus season since The Financial Times announced that there will be caps on European bonuses for both bankers and asset managers. The unwelcomed news has questioned the stability of the European job market as employees are faced with deferring at least 40 percent of bonuses for a minimum of three years. We envision that once the proposal is emplace, this will result in a movement to rival American firms who will not be affected by the cap, which will have a negative affect on the UK and consequently EU Economy.
With the impending UK Election in June, and the uncertainty around who will get the majority vote in the House of Commons, the UK economy will most certainly be subject to investors withdrawals. Due to the political uncertainty in the UK, wider EU might be able to secure a larger amount of global investments which will certainly be beneficial for the wider European Union.