☰ Menu eFinancialCareers

Behold the executive search survivors

The great waning in financial services firms’ urge to hire has taken its toll on headhunters. But with recruitment finally starting to pick up again, some firms are emerging stronger and more diversified than before.

They include the search firms below, all of whom have added headcount since the crisis began. Let us know if you think we’ve omitted anyone from the list.

1.) Sheffield Haworth

The UK-based international financial services boutique has survived the ultimate test: opening an office in the US and living to tell the tale. Its New York office opened in 2004 and, combined with offices in Dubai, Delhi, Hong Kong and Mumbai, now generates 40% of the firm’s revenues. Headcount is up 10% since the start of the crisis.

2). Omerta Group

Originally a London boutique focused on structured credit, Omerta now has offices in Hong Kong and Moscow too and has expanded its reach to include commodities, cash equities and risk. Managing director Jason Mort says they’ve added headcount in research across Europe and Asia and have taken advantage of rivals’ weakness to strengthen their position.

“The hiring market has improved but we take nothing for granted. We have accepted reduced revenues in the lean times in expectation of increased business in the upturn,” says Mort.

3). Hammond Partners

Traditionally known for its strength in equities, Hammond has expanded to cover all areas of the market. Chief executive Paul Hammond says they’ve added seven people since the crisis began and have come through thanks to being “well capitalized.”

4). Execuzen

Founded in London 2000, Execuzen now has offices in London, New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Moscow. Founder and managing director Adrian Ezra says London headcount has increased during the downturn. Last month, the company hired Andrew Fox former senior consultant at Carrington Fox. ‘I am cautiously optimistic about things going forward,” Ezra says.

Comments (30)

  1. “optimistically cautious” what an oxymoron!

    Flaming Banker Reply
  2. No mention of the 25% paycuts allegedly enforced globally at Sheffield Haworth at the end of last month…….no surprise.

  3. That’s funny as Execuzen had allegedly given people an option of being sacked or staying on commission only. Hardly a sign of being of growth.

  4. ‘going forward’…oh brother.

  5. Beieve none of what you hear and only half of what you see. How true!!!

  6. Execuzen have hired someone from Carrington Fox!

  7. These comments are brilliant! and so true!

  8. My firm should be on this list as it grew rampantly during the recession. Last month alone, I increased headcount by 100%.

    There are 2 of us now

  9. These firms pay their consultants what they are worth!

    Virtually nothing!

  10. its funny though – everyone hates recruiters – then the recession hits and everyone is calling you as your best friend.

  11. “The hiring market has improved but we take nothing for granted. We have accepted reduced revenues in the lean times in expectation of increased business in the upturn,” says Mort.

    Of course it’s improved, you can’t get worse zero hiring!! It’s still going to take another 18 months to stabilise.

    Perhaps Mr Mort could explain that ‘reduced revenues’ are now the norm to my employers who are still in complete denial that the market is ‘a little iffy’ at the moment.

    I’ll be chuffed to bill 1/2 of 2008 this year and that was 1/2 of 2007! (granted 2007 was a fairly productive year).

  12. Hmmm, I wonder if you need to increase your own researcher headcount? I’m not sure that your information is completely on the money here…

    Mrs Headhunter Reply
  13. Yeah, good point AE. Now the recession has hit, I’m calling a recruiter as my best friend!

    My best friend is a recruiter though so actually it’s not that strange. And i didn’t necessarily hate them in the first place…

    but apart from that, it was a good point.

  14. Does anyone believe anyone in this game? Really?

    Russel Struggles Reply
  15. Happy, secure, no firing and possibly even selectively hiring here…
    Colleagues have all bought into basic housekeeping:
    No exhorbitant overheads (lean headcount, no fancy Mayfair offices, sensible compensation packages), flexible fee structures (ie. sharing both pain and success with Clients) and we’ve even put a bit aside for a rainy day.
    Not glib, but simple business advice heeded long ago courtesy of the Bank of Mum and Dad.

    Still Searching Reply
  16. lets make it more fun, which ones went to the wall???

    can we get a background music feature as well….. Queen?
    another ones bites the dust…… another one gone, another one gone..,

    will get people smiling regardless of the future for the economy…

  17. I’m pretty optimistic about 2009. Two of my biggest clients, Bear Stearns and Lehmans, appeared to shed a lot of staff during 2008, and I’m looking forward to helping them rebuild.
    They key to being successful in this market is having up-to-date information

  18. What’s Lehmans?

  19. Times are definitely tough for recruiters. Last month, I was was representing a senior banker who, 2 years ago, would have been snapped up in no time.
    The best I could do for him was to get him a job as a cashier in Tesco.

    The fee was small, but every little helps

  20. we thought we had placed someone from Lehman to another bank after the collapse and she was bid back by the administrators on a 2 year contract and twice the cash. So no placement for the consultant on that one. She was later tinned.

  21. I love the ‘more diversified than before’ comment Sarah!


    ‘clutching at straws as all our markets have tanked!’

  22. Wait…Lehman’s collapsed? That’s the type of thing my research department should tell me.

    At least i still have Bear Stearns

  23. As a firm we are having our best year yet. My portfolio and personal billing are already twice that of the 2007 peak.
    Bring it on

  24. I heard that the Sheffield Haworth heavyweights poached some big hitters from Office Angels.

  25. Any data on Banking Technology focussed firms Sarah?

  26. All the girls from these places are do damn cute.

  27. just check out the pics if you are too rubbish to get contacted by them
    hubba hubba

  28. But where is VE?

  29. very strange …. I thought there were more resources than jobs.. why are they being hunted.. are they killed when caught? it is a very cruel way to reduce unemployment

  30. Seriously can we focus on the main point…What has happened to Lehmans? I bet all my banks money on them. Oh well Im sure the government will help me out.

The comment is under moderation. It will appear shortly.


Screen Name


Consult our community guidelines here