According to a recent article, ‘Asia-Pacific Financial Job Market Remains Steady’ by CFO Innovations Asia, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in recruitment activity in asset management, global custody and compliance areas for the second half of 2012.
Being a specialist recruiter in the asset management industry in Hong Kong, I have to admit that buy-side hiring seemed to be the least affected by the global financial turmoil, compared to the investment banks.
In the past six months, turnover has remained relatively high in the front office; multiple distribution/wholesale sales managers have been moving to competitors. Additionally, I have witnessed an increasing number of marketing and client servicing opportunities in the market. Although there are hidden openings here and there, the majority are critical replacements hires due to headcount limitations. From the conversations I have had with HR and management in fund houses, they do not foresee any expansion in the remaining two quarters of this year.
Besides the long-only asset managers, alternative investments with a particular focus in private equity and exchange-traded fund (ETF) seem to have picked up quite a bit. A number of US and China based PE funds are recruiting heavily from the investment banks, trying to take advantage of the influx of IBD professionals who are passionate to make a move to the buy-side.
For those who are not familiar with ETF, it is a security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets like an index fund, but trades like a stock on an exchange. Given the volatility of the current market situation, investors have started to diversify their investments into ETF for their low costs, tax efficiency and stock-like features. In the past few months, a number of ETF providers have entered the market and there has been an increase in ETF sales, product development and portfolio management vacancies.
Hopefully the optimism in the asset management hiring market will be reflected across the rest of the financial services sector in the remainder of 2012.