A year ago the hedge fund I work for still had a number of bold plans: launching more funds with different strategies, strengthening the control department, and expanding the IT team to prepare for an expected increase in trading volume. However, thanks to the poor market performance from the second half of 2011 onwards, nearly all of these ambitions have been shrunk or put on hold.
From what I have been seeing, investors who asked for redemption in Q3 last year have chosen not to withdraw their requests, but rather to take their money out as planned. Hedge funds are still under great pressure to draw up more money to offset those payments.
No new employees have joined my firm since October 2011 and it seems other funds are not doing much better. Moreover, within my group of hedge-fund friends, the latest job move was back in September 2011. The cold calls I have received from headhunters recently have been about banking, not hedge-fund roles. I haven’t been contacted by mainland funds either. I have talked with my broker connections in China about the job market there, but their comments were unanimously downbeat.
I’m not sure that cold calling employers directly works very well in this market either. A fund manager at my firm recently received a call from someone actually working for a counterparty (and the person was not even our contact point). The manager answered his request fairly politely: “It’s strange for you to call me like this; which department are you from?…Ok, how about you leave your number, and I’ll get back to you when there’s an opening.” I think you can imagine the end result.
For me, the performance of my firm over the coming months is critical. While my bonus is not as heavily affected or deferred as my Europe counterparts, I also want some motivation and recognition from the management.