Whilst the biggest news story of this quarter has been COVID-19, we will look into some of the topics surrounding it and the impact it has had on the market before and since. For example last month, despite the rapid rise in the amount of people working remotely – up 173% since 2005 according to Global Workplace Analytics – it was still a minority of employees, with only 10% of people working from home in Europe. However, due to the current lockdown parameters, we are seeing a significant and unprecedented shift to remote working. Research shows the benefits of remote working include improved staff retention, greater efficiency for firms and employees, lower commuting costs and lower stress levels.
Now, with the spread of coronavirus pushing companies to hold meetings, interviews and get day-to-day work done remotely, could people change their ways of working for good? Even in this day and age, we see companies of all types and sizes that can genuinely afford to have employees work from home not recognising that as a huge perk and benefit. As recruiters, we see time and again our inability to recruit qualified talent for clients that are not able to offer this option. As teams are increasingly international and with commuting times in major cities lengthening significantly it does make sense to treat your most important corporate asset (your employees) with trust and respect they deserve and build a sustained momentum of productivity that can scale for today and the foreseeable future! With tools like “Zoom”, “Cloudya” and “WebEx” we have seen how beneficial technology is in times like this.
This leads on to the topic of ESG. With factories on hold, less public transport and hardly many people on the road, many countries have reported a massive change in pollution and carbon footprint in general.
Bruin are launching an ESG program this year in order to help our clients to increase their exposure within ESG through events, workshops, and partnerships with Environmental Consultancies.
We are also hoping to do the following:
Create an ESG tool kit to help our clients attract and retain talent.
Create a sense of collaboration between financial services organisations and more visibility around who is doing what in their commitment to reducing their footprint.
Simplify and streamline things for our clients, to make ESG easily accessible, with well researched solutions, and regulatory standards the government trusts.
We will be sharing out results and progress in the Q2 Market Commentary
As you will have seen from the recent media coverage, the UK Government has decided to delay the IR35 tax reforms by one year until 6 April 2021 as part of their efforts to protect the economy from the COVID-19 outbreak. Already, we have seen an increase in temporary recruitment; COVID-19 has proven that a temporary work force is absolutely essential especially during times like this.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
After the acquisition of Merian by Jupiter, the second-largest asset management acquisition, it was announced that Merian UK equity veteran Richard Buxton would be taking over the Jupiter UK Growth investment trust from Steve Davies.
Kempen Capital Management has strengthened its alternative solutions team with the appointment of Anne Mei Poppe as Alternative Investment Specialist. Poppe, who has twelve years of experience in financial services, will focus on the growing demand from international institutional investors, wealth managers and family offices for alternative investment strategies. Anne Mei joined from Dutch asset management and direct lending firm Dynamic Credit.
Capital Group has appointed Debbie Fok as Marketing Director, Financial Intermediaries, Hong Kong and North Asia. Fok will report to Hannah Ayme, Managing Director, Financial Intermediaries Marketing, Europe and Asia, and will be based in Hong Kong. Fok will lead Capital Group’s financial intermediary marketing strategy in Hong Kong, raising awareness of the firm’s brand and range of Luxembourg-domiciled funds to investors. She joins from Matthews Asia, where she was Head of Marketing.
Sarasin Asset Management, the US-client subsidiary of Sarasin & Partners, has hired experienced investment professional Sean McCaffrey, to be based in the US. McCaffrey, who has been appointed Senior Vice President, US Distribution and Consultant Relations, is tasked with spearheading the growth of Sarasin’s US charities and institutional business. McCaffrey has joined from CBIS, a New York-based socially responsible investment management group, where he developed key contacts across the institutional and consultant space.
Franklin Templeton has appointed Stefan Bauer as the new country head for its German business effective 1 February 2020. Bauer replaces Reinhard Berben who retires on 31 March 2020. Based in Frankfurt, Bauer will be responsible for leading and driving the growth of the German business across its retail and institutional channels. Bauer joined Franklin Templeton in 2015 as Head of Institutional Sales responsible for developing the institutional business in Germany.
T Rowe Price has expanded Italy country head Donato Savatteri’s responsibilities by appointing him Head of Southern Europe. As head of T Rowe Price in southern Europe, Savatteri will be coordinating the firm’s business development in Iberia (Spain and Portugal), which is led and will continue to be by Alfonso del Moral, T Rowe Price’s Head of Spain and Portugal. Savatteri was appointed Head of Italy in September 2014 as part of the firm’s European expansion. He then also joined T. Rowe Price’s EMEA Executive Committee. Prior to that, he had been Lombard Odier’s Italy CEO for three years, during which he founded the firm’s office in the country.
Gunther Schleip has joined ABG Head of Investments for the ABG Capital division in Frankfurt. He will be working very closely with managing partner Ulrich Holler. Schleip has almost 20 years of experience in the institutional real estate business. Most recently, he was responsible for initiating and marketing US real estate funds for institutional investors, in cooperation with Texas-based Lincoln Property Company, Dallas.
Prostar Capital, a global private investment firm focused on midstream energy infrastructure assets, today announced that it has expanded its investment team with the hire of Paul Viscontini as Head of Asset Management. His responsibilities include overseeing the growth and development of Prostar’s global portfolio, working to develop strategic business execution plans and identifying value creation initiatives. Viscontini joins from PwC, where he had worked in management consulting since 2014 in the Capital Projects and Infrastructure division.
One of the most significant shifts that we have seen in Q1 is the steady decline in temporary day rate staff and the increase of fixed term contracts. This continued on from Q4 of 2019 as we approached the original IR35 implementation date for the industry in April of this year. This situation has changed in the past couple of weeks given the fact that the regulation is now delayed until 2021, meaning that some companies are performing 180 degree turnarounds and allowing Personal Service Companies (PSCs) to continue operating. Temporary staffing does provide an agile and flexible workforce to the financial services market and these measures will go a long way to alleviate some of the stresses that COVID-19 is providing.
We have also noted a number of roles that span both distribution and broader front office, particularly with business managers becoming in high demand. It seems as though more investment managers are looking for a strategist to work alongside their regional sales team to purposefully penetrate target markets or grow their market share in existing areas. With a number of UK and American firms looking to expand into Europe, this seems like a logical move.
With regards to specific trends of role profiles, this is the first quarter in quite some time where we have experienced a wide array of positions across the marketing spectrum. The core areas of RFP/Bid Writing and Investment Writing/Content Marketing has kept us occupied, but there have also been additions to the desk in the form of product marketing, investment education, specialist digital roles and events. On the sales front we have seen positions ranging from sales support in London to regional BDMs in Glasgow and sales manager opportunities for fintech firms. It certainly has been a varied start to 2020!
Continuing on from the topic of fintech, this is a very exciting growth stage for the Sales & Marketing team, looking to branch out of our safety blanket of buy-side financial services. As well as fintech we are exploring avenues with insurance companies and challenger banks. Whilst we are still firmly committed to servicing our partners in asset, wealth and alternative management, we feel as though our diverse candidate pool and the changing requirements of the industry means that we can assist in a number of other ways. If you would like to speak to us about this, please contact Christopher Rolfe on email@example.com or call 02031453385.
Q1 is the traditional bonus season, and prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, we were seeing a high number of roles come into the market. We have therefore got a lot of active candidates on our books who have either committed to their job search after receiving their bonus, or who are disgruntled by what they were rewarded with. Whilst the number of new roles being released may have slowed down, our relationships and number of active candidates has not! Therefore when Coronavirus starts to clear and normality resumes, there will be an influx of proactive candidates ready to hit the job market.
We are also expecting to see companies beginning to create new roles to better their strategic position within the market. An example of this is an internal educator who can help make employees more dynamic and knowledgeable. The educator’s purpose is to give sales people a more in depth understanding of products and the market. This means when talking to clients sales people will be able to speak more freely and confidently due to knowing the nuances of the products.
Another trend we expect to continue to see is the number of Digital and Automation based roles coming to market increasing. In a tough and competitive environment having the ability to send out specific targeted digital communications to help generate both leads and sales is becoming a vital tool in Asset Managers armoury. This is an area of the market we predict will grow further through out the year.
As Coronavirus grows in magnitude and continues to take its effect on the industry, we expect to see an increase in both internal and external communications roles. This is for the benefit of both employees and investors. As we mentioned in our previous section, COVID-19 will also prove as a testing ground for Working From Home (WFH) capability and the technology required to support this.
For many companies it could be the first time they have allowed employees to work from home and if this unique set of circumstances shows organisations that WFH is a legitimate, regular possibility, it could see many asset managers and financial institutions change their policy and encourage flexible working. This would benefit employees from a wellbeing standpoint and could also be beneficial to employers as they will now be able to attract new talent as some people only want flexible working.
For more information about the market or current opportunities please contact one of our Consultants.