Investment & Middle Office

Wealth & Asset Management Market Commentary, Q1 2014

• Article by BRUIN Financial

Wealth & Asset Management Market Commentary, Q1 2014

Market Overview
Q4 2013 within Asset Management recruitment was the busiest on record with a wide range of roles being released in November and December. Some clients started 2014 hiring early with roles and offers being made in December and the indication from many clients in January has been that 2014 is set to be a busy year for recruitment across all areas of Asset Management.

Towards the end of the year we saw strong candidates secure offers quickly and clients who have successfully secured the best talent are the ones that have not only run the most efficient and streamlined interview process but have consistently sold the opportunity to the candidate during this process. What this has also meant is that good candidates within areas where there is a shortage of talent have received both multiple external offers but also received counter offers and new opportunities offered to them internally to convince them to stay.

Role Profiles
Fixed Income continues to be the area of focus for all clients at the back end of 2013 and early 2014 however in early January we have seen a number of roles with an Equities focus come to market and also multi asset so it remains to be seen whether Fixed Income will remain to be the product of choice in 2014. Product development/product management continues to be a huge area of focus for the Asset Management team here at BRUIN. Roles have been typically at the £65-75k range which has been the most popular level for recruitment, however there have been junior positions for candidates with 1-2 years experience and also managerial and heads of roles in the market. The £65k-75k range has been the hardest level to recruit at as there is a real shortage of candidates at this level. This has tended to be as these candidates have moved into managerial/heads of roles in the last 12-18 months and a shortage of candidates at the Junior level has meant a dearth of candidates progressing to the 65-75k level. There was a marked increase in demand for candidates with UCITs knowledge and a European language, however good candidates in this space have needed to headhunted out of their current roles, meaning that offers have had to be more competitive to save them from being tempted by counter offers.

Performance has also continued to be a busy area for recruitment in early 2014 with salaries ranging from £40,000 through to £80,000 for more senior candidates. Roles within the performance space have continued to have a Fixed Income focus and where there is a lack of strong talent within Fixed Income, clients are being more open to looking at candidates from a different asset class who can make the transition into a new product. Strong Fixed Income performance candidates are very sought after as good candidates are able to make the move into Fund Manager Assistant roles but also into Junior Product specialist positions so we don’t expect the challenge of finding good Fixed Income performance candidates to become any easier in 2014. We have also seen an upsurge in the number of roles where a background in Transfer Agency is required for client facing positions. A number of Asset Managers have been recruiting into their TA focused teams and will look at candidates from Third Party Administrators and TA’s who are looking to make the move into Asset Management. These roles have varied in level from Supervisor positions through to Junior roles. In addition to the TA space, institutional client service roles have been heavily recruited, Candidates with this institutional focus are in abundance, however we have found that they haven’t been technical enough or strong enough interpersonally, causing this area to be a real target headhunting area for us moving forward in 2014.

Surprisingly, a number of operations positions within Asset Managers have been released between November and February. There have been a number of Senior roles for managers and Heads of Operations and the salaries have ranged from £80-120k but also more junior level roles. The positions seen have also required a good level of Derivative knowledge which has allowed a number of banking candidates to make the transition to the Buy side. Better work life balance and more perceived stability have meant that these roles are attractive to banking candidates that previously would not have been interested in roles on the buy side.

January saw a busy start to the year and we are sure that this will continue for the next few months. With bonus payouts and promotion news filtering to the market, we have seen an increase in applications and a desire to move and see what other firms are offering.

We continue to expect counter offers to be an issue when recruiting the best talent for our clients as the market becomes more candidate short. We continue to advise clients to move quickly throughout the recruitment process with candidates that they like but also to sell progression opportunities and the firm as a whole in order to secure the candidates buy in early on in the process.