To make financial services recruiters sit up and take note of your application these days you have to stand out, and invariably this means demonstrating that you have the skills they’re struggling to find.
“Recruiters are looking at 100s of CVs each day so the savvy candidate will ensure that theirs stands out,” said Neil Owen, global practice director at Robert Half Financial Services. Keeping up with market trends, and how you can tweak your skills and experience to maintain your attractiveness, or “CV surgery” as Craig McNicol, manager of compliance and internal audit at Morgan McKinley describes it, is integral.
If you want recruiters to call you back, these are the phrases they want to hear.
1. “Demonstrated track record selling XXm hedge fund assets to institutional investors”
Hedge funds want asset gatherers who can connect with large institutional investors and bring in much-needed money from reputable sources. “The issue we face is that hedge funds are being incredibly specific with who they take on,” said Barry Seath, managing director of Mirage Recruitment. “Sales staff need specific experience with pension funds, mutual funds, local authorities or superannuation funds in Australia.”
2. “Proven project experience in EMIR/Dodd-Frank/AIFMD”
Yes, regulatory change management is still hot, but experience in leading projects in this area is still relatively rare. Banks want to see candidates who not only have this experience, but can demonstrate an understanding of the implications of these regulations on institutions in the future.
“They need to take a more proactive approach to researching the upcoming regulatory changes in the market and highlight on their CV that they have been doing this,” said Robert McLeod, director of the financial services division at recruiters Venn Group. “If they put ‘have researched upcoming changes such as EMIR’ then their CV is more likely to pop up in a search being conducted by a recruiter.”
3. “Experience building and leading a client assets (CASS) team”
Banks want people with experience of a new area of compliance where salaries have risen by up to 50% over the past six months. Client assets, or ensuring that banks comply with new rules from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority requiring the segregation of client money from the banks’ own capital, is a truly busy area of recruitment for banks, said Owen, and senior staff are even harder to come by.
“Financial services firms have been required to establish a client asset specialist unit (CASS) to deliver adequate protection of client money and safe custody assets. Professionals skilled in client assets will find strong career and remuneration prospects due to the shortage of skilled talent,” he said.
4. “Senior commodities operations professional, willing to relocate”
While investment banks’ commodity traders have been flooding out to independent trading houses, they’re still struggling to hire for senior people in operational positions, believes Joe Mcgrath, principal consultant, Continental Europe, at Selby Jennings.
“We are always on the lookout for different operators that handle different commodities. However the candidates we see tend to only want to move into trading roles, rarely a straight switch,” he said. “It is also hard as these candidates, specifically in Geneva are on higher salaries than anywhere else in the world for the same position.”
Recently, Gazprom hired Vasily Mikhaylov, senior oil products operation manager in Vienna, Yuwei Dang joined MRI Trading in Zug to cover concentrates operations; Angus Knight has signed up to cover operations with Quadra Commodities in Melbourne; Navig8 has recruited Peter Allan to cover commercial operations in London; and Brandon Summerfield has joined Vitol to cover operations in Johannesburg, according to research from specialist headhunters Commodity Appointments.
5. “Senior high yield/leveraged finance professional with proven track record”
We’ve pointed to this before, but fixed income recruiters suggest that the game of musical chairs that has prompted a series of banks to start hunting for high yield professionals is continuing in the City job market. “We’re seeing demand for origination specialists, as well as sales and trading,” said one fixed income headhunter who declined to be named.
In recent weeks, Mizuho (which was building its high yield team), lost two senior bankers who have yet to resurface elsewhere, while Knight Capital, HSBC, Lloyds, SocGen, Citi, Jefferies, and BNP Paribas have all added to their teams.
6. “Python developer with (at least) five years’ experience on front office projects”
J.P. Morgan has long used Python and based its Gauss counterparty credit risk calculator for its OTC derivatives operation on the programming language. Now other banks have started recruiting for this skill-set, so technical architects and developers at the bank seem to have a distinct advantage over those in other institutions.
“Front office Python developers, and individuals who state Python as their primary language have never been in higher demand from banks because, in some instances, the language is now being utilised instead where C++, C# and Java were almost exclusively dominant,” said Jonny Ward, head of financial services technology at Twenty Recruitment. “So few people have substantial experience of it, meaning that there are rich pickings.”
7. “Internal audit”
Internal audit is not considered to be a particularly sexy vocation, but it’s one where demand has surged in recent months because “organisations are investing to ensure they are conforming with regulation”, according to Morgan McKinley’s McNicol. Just having any sort of experience in this area will pique recruiters’ interest because demand is outstripping supply. In some cases, pay rises of up to 30% are on the cards.
8. “Senior financial crime manager”
Anti-money laundering and other specialist compliance roles around financial crime are not as exciting as they sound, but they are scorchingly hot, to the point when more banks are having to draft in more contractors on up to £500 a day to meet demand.
“Several AML scandals over the past 18-24 months have prompted an increase in demand for experts to ensure that financial institutions closely monitor the origin and destination of payments moving in and out of their firm,” said Robert Half’s Owen.
9. “Head of equity research with (at least) 10 years’ experience”
Equity researchers have been axed in most banks over the past 18 months and, despite signs that some are willing to rehire, it’s largely at the senior end – big names, with a depth of expertise – where investment banks want to recruit, said one specialist equity research headhunter.
RBC Capital Markets has taken on Graeme Pearson, one of the casualties of Nomura’s decimation of its research team, as head of research in Europe, while Xavier Gunner has been named as head of developed Europe at HSBC.