Market Overviews


• Article by BRUIN Financial



To a large extent Q1 has ‘slow and steady’ in the build-up to Brexit. However, in the face of market uncertainty, hiring decisions, interview processes and headcount planning were in some instances delayed, perhaps disguising the extent of market appetite. Notably many Sales & Marketing professionals were keen to make a strategic move to investment management firms that appeared to offer stability. But with talent outflows across multiple asset houses amongst their retail, intermediary and institutional clients alike; hiring decisions became increasingly pressing and by March we began to see a significant uplift in activity.

Long term decisions were understandably paused in anticipation of Britain’s exit from the European Union. From a recruitment perspective, this has shifted the balance of permanent roles to Temporary and Contract roles. The flexibility provided by the latter has seen the market for temporary roles stay relatively unaffected while the interview process for permanent roles became noticeably longer.

There have been some noticeable trends in the investment management marketing function as a whole. According to Tom Brown, global head of asset management at KPMG, asset managers need scale or expertise in a niche area in order to survive and so investment management players without a very clear “go-to market strategy” will suffer over the next five to ten years. As a result, marketing strategies have had to be redefined to focus on the building an investment story. The story would naturally need to capture the client’s active imagination to make more informed investment decisions based on their niche and evolving needs. In this way, from global boutique firms all the way to the larger and more traditional investment managers; a shift to a more solution-orientated investment mind-set has become apparent. Despite squeezed margins; as solution providers, marketing budgets are now being more carefully managed and allocated to reflect this.



In the wake of MIFID II, fund managers have prioritised hiring in the corporate access space, bulking up their teams. BlackRock, Fidelity International and Capital, three of the biggest fund houses, have all recruited staff for their corporate access teams in response to the new rules.  Many of the larger institutions made additions to their global corporate access teams and claimed that the hiring was less to with avoiding broker fees and more about having better quality access and clearer dialogue with key Investors. We expect to see more hiring across this space in Q2 as the trend for Corporate Access continues.


We have also noted a number of hires across the Events arena; this includes Senior Events roles and hybrid Marketing and Events positions at the junior and mid-level end of the market. Investment houses are encouraging the dual functions to work closely together, to serve as market leaders offering direct access to key investors.


Last quarter we noticed a bulk of Content roles, predominantly Investment Writing. This trend has followed through to Q1 this year, with many of the larger houses focusing their recruitment efforts in this space. On the whole there has been increased focus on thought leadership content among asset managers, such as opinion articles and whitepapers. These educational pieces of collateral provide value to those reading it outside of a traditional product or service pitch. The candidate pool for strong investment writers has proved limited throughout Q1; however as bonus period comes to a close, we expect the candidate market will change.



Last year we saw asset managers increase their focus on EU27 countries ahead of Brexit. The number of people working in the Luxembourg investment industry grew 10% in 2018 for example, as UK based fund managers put Brexit contingency plans into action. BRUIN’s dedicated Europe team has seen a corresponding increase in demand which we anticipate will continue to be a priority as asset managers build up their European presence over the next 12 months.

At the beginning of this year, news outlets announced BNY Mellon had banned staff from working from home. BNY Mellon claimed the policy had become necessary to increase collaboration and enable faster decision making. However, concerns were raised that this move would penalise staff who rely on flexible working arrangements.  Campaigners and HR professionals were quick to highlight the move would disproportionately harm BNY Mellon’s female staff at a time when companies are moving to achieve greater female representation, in the wake of large disparities in the gender pay gap.

Two days after their announcement, Charles Scharf, the Chief Executive, sent a memo to his 50,000 staff across the globe telling them “We did not fully appreciate the level of impact this would have on those employees with existing arrangements. Given this, we have decided to immediately hit pause on implementing any changes to remote working arrangements.” This is particularly interesting because flexible working arrangements are fast becoming one of the most significant candidate motivators. And the industry as a whole appears to be responding positively to this trend.  Notably PwC has recently brought in flexible working initiatives for new recruits (both junior and senior), which seems to show a significant shift in mind-set from some of the more traditional management workforces.



Charles Stanley created a new role Group Head of Distribution and appointed John Porteous who joins from Old Mutual Wealth. Muzinich & Co have appointed Tom Douie into a similar position, joining as Global Head of Distribution for the $33.3bn New York-based specialist credit manager from Neuberger Berman.

Regionally, Martin Currie has made two hires bringing Mark Cho from their parent company Legg Mason into a Head of US intermediary distribution position and Barry MacLennan from Standard Life Aberdeen to Head their European wholesale distribution efforts. MacLennan is also responsible for aligning resources and strategies between Martin Currie and Legg Mason in the UK and across Europe. JPMorgan Asset Management has concentrated on the UK remit, hiring Edward Malcolm as UK head of ETF distribution, wealth and intermediaries from State Street.

With regards to Sales Specific roles, Jose Castellano has joined iM Global Partner, the $7.6bn Paris-based multi-boutique platform, as deputy chief executive and head of international business development after 16 years in senior distribution roles at Pioneer Investments. M&G Investments has brought in Ingo Matthey as head of institutional business development for Germany. Matthey joins from Wells Fargo Asset Management.

On the Marketing side, Micheal Ramirez has joined Aviva Investors from BlackRock in the new role of global head of institutional marketing while BNP Paribas Asset Management has recruited Hilda Tingle as global head of digital marketing. Tingle previously worked in a similar role for JPMorgan’s private bank arm.



With larger UK organisations required to publicly disclose their gender pay gaps for the first time in 2018, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives are becoming a significant factor that influences candidates’ decision to join a firm.

As a result, more and more of our clients have started to look at approaches to increase diversity, including how they source, interview and recruit candidates, as well as their retention strategy. With this in mind, BRUIN recently hosted a breakfast seminar ‘Achieving EthniCity’ focusing on BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Group) representation in financial services.

This was centered on the findings of the 2017 McGregor-Smith Review which highlighted the key issues affecting BAME engagement in the workplace and included proposals to replicate the gender pay gap reporting obligations for ethnicity, estimated to be a gap of over £3.2 billion in the UK.

We were delighted to be joined by hiring managers, HR business partners, D&I professionals and talent acquisition specialists to share strategies for change and overcoming challenges to inclusion. Our guest speakers and panellists were Maktuno Suit, Psychologist and Executive Coach, and Richard Thompson, Head of Investment Risk at Merian Global Investors who shared some of their own experiences. Representatives from BRUIN shared some strategies for sourcing diverse talent and what employers can do to remove barriers to workplace progression for ethnic minorities. Some important discussion took place around the challenges financial services need to overcome to ensure a more inclusive environment.

For more information on this seminar or similar events, please contact one of our consultants.