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Recruitment: What’s in store in Q4?

Hiring surge, headcount purge or more resisting of the expansion urge? What does Q4 have in store for Tokyo’s banking and finance industry?

The answer depends on who you ask. Lionel Kaidatzis, operations director at Morgan McKinley Tokyo, is one recruiter expecting good things. He thinks we will see a “relative up-shift in hiring” across nearly all functions as 2010 draws to a close.

“Financial institutions tend to be very proactive in hiring from mid-Q4 onwards. They tend to start hiring in November in anticipation of the headcount and hiring budgets they will have available to them for 2011, and many hiring managers like to be ahead of the competition and hire good-quality candidates before year-end, with a view to them joining early next year after bonus season,” he says.

In particular, Kaidatzis believes we could be in for some decent activity in equity research, equity sales, investment banking M&A, asset management (especially fixed income sales and Asian equity fund managers), IT application support, and internal auditing.

But not everyone thinks the up-tick will be that broad.

“Unless we see a tremendous improvement in the global macro backdrop, as well an increased appetite for Japanese stocks versus Japan just being seen as a giant ATM for fast-money to park cash temporarily in, I don’t foresee any major areas of growth in Q4,” says Paul Guevara, senior consultant at Boyd & Moore.

Guevara does, however, expect some growth, especially within asset management. He says as foreign and domestic asset managers continue to tap into local pensions and insurance money, as well as high-net-worth investors, there could be a significant push in the hiring of alternative investment fund raisers, asset gatherers, third-party marketers and client service professionals.

“Among other strategies and asset classes, we would foresee a deepening prevalence of Asian/Japanese high-yield, distressed, special situations, PE and event-driven investment professionals in Q4 and beyond. We are already receiving a significant amount of interest from our clients on these fronts,” he adds.

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