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London’s top financial services headhunters 2008

Ever wanted to know which firms dominate financial services headhunting in London? Look no further. The ranking below is from the Executive Grapevine’s latest annual review of the executive search market. Percentage figures are for market share.

Let us know if you think they’ve left anyone out. Bear in mind that this list only includes executive search firms. Contingency recruiters operating in the financial services space don’t feature.

1. Heidrick & Struggles (UK) (5.5%)

2. Spencer Stuart & Associates (5.2%)

3. Principal Search Ltd (4.6%)

4. Russell Reynolds Associates (UK) (4.5%)

5. Egon Zehnder International (4.0%)

6. Odgers Ray & Berndtson (3.6%)

7. Whitehead Mann Partnership LLP (3.5%)

8. Hogarth Davies Lloyd (3.4%)

9. Kinsey Allen Consulting (3.0%)

10. Sheffield Haworth Ltd. (2.9%)

11. The Rose Partnership (2.8%)

12. Global Sage (2.7%)

13. Execuzen (2.6%)

14. Blackwood Group (2.4%)

15. Napier Scott (2.2%)

16. Sainty Hird & Partners Ltd (2.1%)

17. Sammons Associates (2.0%)

18 Whitney Group Ltd (UK) (1.9%)

19= Korn/Ferry International (UK) (1.8%)

19= Hammond Partners (1.8%)

Source: Executive Grapevine

Comments (36)

  1. How do they make these things up? Down the pub? At least one of those firms is pure contigency.

  2. Whichever firms buy Sarah the nicest lunches it seems.

  3. We didn’t actually put this list together ourselves – it originates with Executive Grapevine. I am open to being taken out for nice lunches though.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  4. If you’re good enough, you’ll never need to use a headhunter, because heads of desks will have heard of you directly and will get in contact directly.

  5. Oh Henry. Maybe where you work. But not always the case, and I work with some of the best in the biz: which ain’t necessarily your biz, so let’s not pretend you know everything about everything.

  6. what about a list for Analyst / Associate / VP level

  7. Pure Henry
    It ain’t what you know it is who you know and who knows you. If you are not hitting the headlines in the FT, weekly then you are not known to Heads of Desk. Perhaps if you trade with them but then….So knowing a well connected OR a proactive Head Hunter is always a good thing.

  8. I have never heard of most of these firms. Perhaps thats where I have been going wrong. I notice that the cowboys I have been using are nowhere to be seen on this list.

    Thanks for the list.

  9. hey, why not putting the contingency list as well for the WORST recruitment agencies.

  10. Henry why bother to read this then?

  11. Henry has done it again oh no!!!

  12. Is everyone here so sad that they’re unable to make a valid comment of their own? Henry’s point was totally reasonable. If you’re any good, someone will approach you. If you’re not, you’ll have to send in your CV with the rest.

    Angus Deaton the 2nd Reply
  13. @Sarah – I’m not a headhunter, but would love to have a nice lunch as well…

  14. Henry, I think Daddy hasn’t just been reading you bed time stories lately again… or maybe it’s those hemorrhoids hurting too much…

  15. John McCain should’ve picked Henry for VP!

  16. This list is great. Thanks a ton !!! I’ll keep it for the day I am made redundant as MD.

    For Associate – VP roles in London (Bank/HF), Surprisingly, US-based head-hunters are able to arrange more interviews than UK-based head-hunters. Possibly because they’re closer to the authorities that approve headcount.

    Footloose_And_Fancy-Free Reply
  17. Henry, dun change ur name to Angus. We know who u r.

    Yeah, lets have the list of worst headhunters.

  18. I am a PA and would not mind a nice lunch myself :-) lol

  19. Footloose_And_Fancy_Free…your comment about US based vs. UK based recruiters is a complete pile of rubbish!

  20. Maybe we should all meet for lunch to take our mind off things. Lehman bankers particularly welcome.

  21. One important aspect you all forget is the fact that the service a headhunter provides can help a lot when it comes chasing up the hiring manager and making the whole hiring process smooth and also on package negotiations side. Also if a head of desk was clearly seen to poach directly from a competitor then he can be sued by the bank he poached from hence he would use a headhunter and give him a “named search” of the person he is after rather then going for him directly.
    Imagine you went for an interview and then never got feedback or 2nd round was taking long to organize…you cant keep on calling the hiring manager or emailing him…he’ll think you’re bugging him and that may kill the hiring process as you may give them the wrong impression…where as if a headhunter does this…the candidate doesn’t get penalized…every hiring manger knows that a headhunter will bug them to get things moving.
    Then at the package negotiation stage if you went direct and spoke directly with the bank…then how would you nicely tell them the package they offered you is a load of rubbish without offending them….his is where a headhunter can help….he’ll be in the middle taking all the flak…

  22. …con’t from the last msg..
    …from the client and the candidate helping them meet in the middle without anyone being offended by rejecting offers until a middle ground is met…
    So there are benefits… think outside the box people…

  23. also none of the above percentages can be verified at all…

  24. mostly agree with jonnybgood… to be honest i’ve not heard most of these names… on another note why are the job boards filled with contingency firms who are soo bad at what they do? … in this downturn thought they would be weeded out…

  25. The worst head hunting firms are the ones that are still putting out fake jobs- the usual culprits on Wilmott etc. They are a joke.

  26. This is a load of rubbish, i work for one of London’s top head hunting companys, i am not being bias but from working with one previously i know that my current on is definatly sucessful. Its not on the list because we are unique and have one of the best client bases. Dont need publitcity and certainly dont come under the same heading as Sheffiled Howarth etc…

  27. snowman – retained search firms don’t advertise jobs on job boards. Generally tend to work at Director & MD level, and identify good candidates by networking.

  28. Steve – head hunting firms don’t put out adverts. That’s what contingency “agencies” do. Head hunters approach individuals about specific vacancies. Similarly Angus, if you’re any good, you’ll be approached by head hunters far more likely than a desk head. If you’re not, then yes, send your CV to a contingency agency and be placed on their database with umpteen thousand other hopefuls.

  29. Proper headhunters identify relevant talent via in depth research methodology.

  30. Sure, i agree on the differences between head hunters and so called contingency firms and how they go about doing business, what annoys me is that contingency firms call themselves head hunters. As someone who is looking for a job the number of these cowboy recruiters is simply amazing… most dont have a clue about markets, products or even their own clients they are recruiting for. Its simply a question of accumulating CVs via countless fake ads on job boards and then calling (usually cold) their so called clients (who they have no real relationship) with the hope a couple of cvs catch their attention.. sometimes if these recruiters are lucky they get given a mandate.. otherwise as one recruiter said.. ‘ in the good days i could just send cvs to a number of firms and we would get a response with little effort’…. its just that in these markets this simply doesnt work… i think there should be a list of recrutiers compiled by readers of efinancial careers of best/ worst of each type of recruiter so we can name and shame…

  31. As an ex employee of two of the companies featured (and just entering my 20th year of Financial Services recruitment) I can confirm that Contingency work continues to represent a considerable proportion of these companies revenue streams. Fair to say an inaccurate and misleading article therefore.

    Silver Searcher Reply
  32. Helpful perhaps to clarify inaccuracies / misunderstandings about ‘retained’ v. ‘contingency’ work:
    1. Headhunters normally work on a retained basis, ie. have a formal mandate from a Client , which typically includes an up front financial commitment to the project.
    2. Contingency recruiters only get paid on results – ie fees to be earned are simply contingent on filling the vacant position.
    3. Wrong to say that headhunters don’t advertise; Search involves targetted research work (desk, phone, web or data based) as a means of identifying potential candidates – call it the Proactive approach. Selection (more of a Reactive approach) is where such roles are advertised (often client paid) and a shortlist of candidates drawn up from respondents, for consideration by the engaging client.
    4. Furthermore, headhunters will often present short-lists to clients having used a combination of methodologies – candidates identified through Search and Selection processes – the best from both put forward.
    5. Headhunter or Contingent recruiter, misrepresentation to candidates is the big problem. Don’t claim to be retained when you’re not and, there are (some) good Contingency operators around.

  33. Any list for Asia equities?

  34. Korn/Ferry in 19th? It should be one of the leaders. What about Options Group, which is focused on financial markets and is not in the list??? I would like to see the methodology used to prepare this list.

  35. Aka, Information Technology. Please tell me why Korn/Ferry should be top? This is a UK financial services survey, not a US industrials survey where there revenue comes from! Korn/Ferry in Europe in financial services only has a minimal presence!

  36. How can I introduce my self to these headhunters?

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