Moving to a hedge fund is not necessarily a panacea for pay cuts and redundancies: Man is in the process of cutting $95m from its operating costs, of which $29m will be coming straight from staff pay.
But some hedge funds are hiring. Headhunters say macro hedge funds in particular are adding staff.
Capula, for example, is said to be adding to its macro group under David Gu, its co-chief investment officer.Between January and March, Capula added 5 FSA-registered individuals according to research firm IMAS. It’s recently announced plans to open a new office in Hong Kong.
With £13bn under management in total, Capula is one of London’s largest funds. However, recruitment firm Selby Jennings claims a lot more candidates now aspire to work for smaller funds, which are perceived as both more accessible and more lucrative.
“Many of the larger mainstream quantitative funds who were losing employees are not actively trying to replace them,” Selby Jennings claims. It adds that bonus levels for researchers and portfolio managers in big funds have fallen and that its own candidates are pursuing, “more aggressive job searches” focused on small funds instead.
Moving from a bank into a hedge fund remains hard, however. When they’re hiring traders, most hedge funds continue to demand all-singing-all-dancing individuals with an audited track record.
“A hedge fund really looks for a seasoned trader with a good length of experience in which they’ve seen various market cycles,” says David Man at search firm Scott Reynolds. “Ideally they want a three year track record with decent P&L and a trader who can separate-out results to their flow activities from their strategic risk-taking. If they’re in a flow seat they ideally need to be making $50m+.
“The key is the ability to show excellent risk management skills in all market environments,” he concludes.
Financial News claims hedge funds and asset managers are currently bursting to hire salespeople, but one senior hedge fund headhunter says this isn’t necessarily the case. “We’re not seeing that,” he tells us: “We’ve only got two sales mandates at the moment.”
When hedge funds do hire salespeople they (predictably) want to hire people with a big and transportable book of institutional clients. People with these credentials are hard to come by. “The problem is that the clients very rarely actually move,” says the headhunter.