Brexit remained a prominent feature this quarter, with the associated movement of firms within Europe in preparation. Some organisations are seeking acquisition targets in Europe to strengthen their fund management in certain regions such as Macquarie’s Asset Management arm. Other firms such as Legg Mason are aiming to set up a fund management company under Irish Law to ensure their EU investors can maintain access to their funds, alongside Legal and General who are aiming to move some investment management operations to Ireland.
Mike Burgess, the Deputy Global CIO at Columbia Threadneedle, stated that although Threadneedle are making contingency plans for when the UK officially leave the EU, it is unlikely that asset management firms will move their large operations abroad as London has one of the strongest financial markets, a huge amount of innovation and a workforce whose strength and skill set is incomparable to other European cities. This is a sentiment echoed in a recent EY report of senior asset management professionals.
Diversity has been another prominent topic. In a recent statement Anne Richards, CEO of M&G, declared that some behaviours of treating women equally takes time to evolve and believes that there is more to be done by the government who could make a huge change in the way of their policies.
M&G are large promoters of women in financial services and recently worked alongside BRUIN to hold an event in partnership with The 30% Club and Women Ahead, a diversity mentoring specialist. This event was held in November to explore the innovative strategies being used by firms to attract and retain women in City and address the challenge of gender imbalance within this industry, with over 100 financial services professionals in attendance. This event complemented another recent event held at M&G’s offices focusing on Women Returners for the Diversity Project, for which BRUIN is represented on the Steering Committee.
Aviva took another great step in the way of diversity as they introduced equal parental leave rights for their employees meaning 12 months’ leave and 6 months of those paid. AXA were also recently named the best place to work for LGBTQ equality which may lead to more firms promoting their efforts to increase LGBTQ awareness.
ESG products continue to be prominent as AXA announce they are looking to disinvest in fossil fuels and the coal business, and invest in more ethical products to increase its ‘green’ investment funding by 2020 and accelerate the financial industry in helping fight climate change. A Macquarie-led consortium bought the UK’s Green Investment Bank in 2017 as a push to increase its investment in more renewable energy markets. Firms such as Deutsche Asset Management, PIMCO, and Aberdeen Standard Investments have also increased their investments in these funds and are committing themselves to responsible investing.
Following the merger, Aberdeen Standard Investments have chosen to set up their European Logistics Income Trust Initial Public Offering after raising £187.5m, with the co-CEO believing this will be a strong platform for their growth and increase the firm’s electronic business operations across Europe. Vanguard also launched two new low-cost investment products under their Target Retirement Funds aimed towards young investors planning to retire by 2060 which will provide a straightforward solution that is managed by experiences professionals.
On the candidate side, Junior sales support roles were particularly sought after as graduates completed their degrees and looked for their first step into the asset management industry. The HM Treasury alongside the Investment Associates released plans to introduce Asset Management Centres of Excellence in more UK universities across the country in a bid to increase the talent pipeline in this industry and counteract the skills shortage for certain roles.
Client side, as firms consider expanding into Europe, their need for candidates who are based in London but can easily liaise with clients and teams in European regions has increased significantly, particularly for those with an additional European language.
As Q4 continued we saw an increase for Marketing Executives with broad experience, specifically candidates who can work across all areas of the marketing team and conduct both online and offline tasks effectively, meaning more team efficiency, internal flexibility, and generous cost cutting.
Senior RFP Writers are a higher requirement this quarter by comparison to Q3 where the demand lay in junior to mid-level roles. The need this quarter has been for mid-level to senior hires within distribution teams, however factors including bonus period and good remuneration packages in their current roles mean these candidates were less likely to be looking. RFP writers at this level tend to look to develop into a more hybrid role, scoping into product specialist, business development, and investor relations.
On a larger scale, we have recently completed team builds within UK Marketing, Investment Writing, and most recently EMEA Marketing Leadership Teams. Demand for candidates grew towards the latter of Q4, which is expected to continue into 2018. On our temporary desk, there was a significant increase in demand for senior contract positions in the market, with our clients seeking more candidates with pure asset management experience, where earlier in the year they may have been more flexible.
As mentioned, we have seen an increase in the need for candidates who speak an additional European language to help support teams abroad in operations as firms prepare for Brexit. Moving into 2018 it is expected that we will begin to see some roles which are based in these European countries rather than just supporting them from the UK.
As there has been a rise in senior positions and team builds across the Sales and Marketing sector, it may be expected that 2018 will bring an advance in growth and replacement hires in senior positions as firms look to reshape their teams and bring an innovative approach to their marketing, which will also reflect changes in junior to mid level teams across the firm.
The digital space within the industry is rapidly growing and we are seeing more businesses looking to bulk up their teams with specific skills such as UX design, email marketing and CRM system experience. There has also been a rise of technology firms in the financial market which we expect to see grow in 2018. These tech firms offer a varied electronic store of money market and digital asset funds, which allows a closer interaction with clients in the financial industry through social media and electronic applications. Tech firms with these services have already taken market share in the US which could present a potential challenge for traditional financial services firms in the UK.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
BNP Paribas Asset Management recently hired Neil Johnson from the investment specialist RobecoSAM, as their Head of US Institutional Business Development, as well as Roger Miners joining from Allianz Global Investors as their new Chief Marketing Officer. Also joining from Allianz Global Investors, Philip Dawes who joins as Head of Institutional Sales for the UK and Ireland, a newly created role.
Senior moves within the Sales space seemed to be prominent theme in Q4, as Gad Amar joins Edmond de Rothschild from Blackrock as their new Global Head of Business Development, Jason Allan joined Allianz Global Investors as their Director of Institutional Business Development, and Robeco hired Christoph von Reiche as the Global Head of Distribution and Marketing, responsible for global sales.
Within Consultant Relations, QMA hired John Gee-Gant in a newly created role, Head of International Distribution and Global Consultant Relations. Neuberger Berman also hired Jamie Wong as Lead Consultant Relations for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
There has also been an increase of roles based in European countries, and Moody’s recently hired Julián García De Pablo from Banco Santander as Vice President of Relationship Management for Europe, Middle East and Africa, based in Madrid.