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Where financial services firms will be hiring in the U.S. in 2017

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How long will the bull market last?

As 2017 has begun to unfold, now is the time when most financial services organisation have finalised their hiring plans. With a flurry of job cuts in the final quarter of 2016 and into this year, prospects for 2017 might not appear overly bright, but there are still sectors that financial services recruiters believe will be strong this year.

Here are the financial services roles that recruiters expect to be most in demand in the U.S. in 2017.

Equity analysts and M&A associates

Because there is a lot of unknown on how President-elect Trump will impact business with companies that contract with the government and a host of other uncertainties, top analysts will prove to be invaluable, according to Christian Novissimo, managing partner of accounting and finance at Lucas Group.

“I believe that top equity analysts could be in demand,” Novissimo said. “In addition, I’ve recently received a lot of inquiries from acquisition-oriented companies looking for associates coming from investment banking.

“They’re specifically looking for people in the two-to-four-years post-MBA [range] who want to join companies with active M&A groups,” he said. “These companies come from industries of all sorts.”

Emerging markets bankers

Emerging markets teams at banks are experiencing an uptick in hiring, with plenty of open roles for bankers with deal experience in Latin America and EMEA, including sub-Saharan Africa, according to Cesar DeLara, senior consultant in the investment banking practice at Selby Jennings.

“The types of firms that will be hiring [emerging markets bankers] will be more focused on the middle-market space   ̶ mainly deals between $100m and $1bn, because larger deals have to jump through a lot of hoops at the moment,” DeLara said. “The surge in middle-market hiring is partially a product of the relative lack of regulation and oversight that these emerging markets have in their financial systems overall.”

TMT, healthcare and energy bankers

Currently, the highest level of hiring demand remains in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) and healthcare sectors, both within investment banking and corporate strategy, according to Mike Brothers, a manager in the investment banking practice at Michael Page.

“Given the M&A and leveraged finance markets have been trending upwards in terms of deal volume, my sense is that banks will need to bring on experienced associates and junior vice presidents in execution capacities,” Brothers said. “2016 brought a lot of movement at the senior banking level as well, with several middle-market and boutique firms aggressively growing their staff at the managing-director level.

“Hiring new MDs essentially requires banks to add headcount underneath the origination efforts, and therefore bringing on associates and vice presidents,” he said. “This is my general sense as to where investment banking groups will have the most acute needs going into 2017.”

In addition, energy [banking] is going to continue to be on the up and up throughout 2017, as there has been a lot more focus on it with speculation on Trump’s policies, Brothers said.

“We’ve seen quite a bit of movement among technology coverage bankers – that area hasn’t slowed down at all,” he said.

Data specialists

Professionals who have experience in managing projects or working on data warehousing, data management and cleanup will be in high demand in 2017 and years to come, according to Peter Laughter, the CEO of Wall Street Services.

“In 2017, many firms will be allocating more resources to hire data scientists and quantitative analysts,” adds Mike Karp, the CEO of recruitment firm Options Group. “Overall, technology is the buzzword, and everyone is investing in technology.

Rates salespeople and high-yield/distressed debt bankers

While many banks won’t be adding substantial headcount, they will update various teams by hiring in different areas, Karp said.

“For example, one area that may see growth is rates, and within that desk, sales coverage more than traders,” Karp said. “On the credit side, banks are still contemplating their options – some are looking to grow headcount in high-yield and distressed debt, as well as add FX talent in emerging markets.

Independent wealth management firms

Jeannette Bajalia, a retirement-oriented financial planner and the founder of Woman’s Worth, believes that there will be a decrease in headcount at the institutional financial services level – big banks and other Wall Street firms – because they are typically not focused on the individual consumer but on the bottom-line profits of their institutions.

“I say that because financial decision-making is typically based on emotion – fear and greed – and we are moving into an era in our nation where financial consumers want options and choices that meet their individual needs, not the needs or profit goals of large institutions,” Bajalia said. “I foresee significant growth of the independent financial [advisory] firms, because such [wealth management] firms are driven by client goals and have a high-touch approach to meeting client needs and as such, these firms will grow and create jobs.”

Photo credit: skynesher/GettyImages

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