Hedge funds set to trim recruitment

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The hiring market for hedge funds is due for a lean patch as potential industry consolidation and the short-selling ban hit home.

Spencer Young, chief executive of Australian-based fund HFA Holdings, reckons the number of funds worldwide is set to fall as a result of consolidation caused by market volatility. (Investor Daily)

What will be the impact in Australia? Hans Kunnen, head of investments market research at Colonial First State, says the local sector is due a period of rationalisation. "Hedge funds are meant to produce absolute returns, which hasn't been the case," he says.

John Coles, CEO, Executive Group International, thinks the ban on short selling - which lasts until late January 2009 - has killed hedge fund hiring. "When the ban comes off, recruitment will start to pick up," he adds.

Melissa Tal, a recruiter at Michael Page International, says the impact on jobs is hard to predict. "Some of the hedge funds have been affected by the short-selling ban, while some have taken advantage."

But Tal thinks that hedge funds will still continue to look at investment banking candidates with two to three years' experience.

"They'll be natural achievers who can add value fast, although the ideal candidates come from equities with buy-side experience. Candidates with Asian language skills are in demand because there's no short-selling ban in Asia. Salaries are paid below market, while bonuses are usually uncapped, in line with the performance of the fund," says Tal.

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