The virtues of making the move across to the buy-side from investment banking are many. Fund managers can still pay their employees pretty much what they like, thanks to side-stepping the EU’s bonus cap, job opportunities are on the up and – comparatively speaking – it’s a stable option.
J.P. Morgan’s ongoing expansion of its fund management business lost momentum in 2014, with headcount slipping by 2%, but compensation costs still increased by 4% to an average of $257k per head.
Today, another fund management behemoth – BlackRock – has reported its Q4 results to signal the potential job security and bonus potential of those in the industry. Things are looking up – revenues increased from $10.1bn in 2013 to $11bn for last year. Blackrock careers suddenly look appealing.
While most banks are expected to decrease compensation costs in this year’s bonus round, BlackRock has upped its pay by 8% year on year. Still, Blackrock says that it’s reduced variable compensation and on a per head basis, pay is only up marginally – from $312k in 2013 to $313k last year.
Headcount has continued to increase, however, with an additional 800 employees now employed at Blackrock compared to the same period in 2013.
Like most large fund managers, Blackrock has benefited from Bill Gross’s exit from Pimco in September. In the final quarter, net inflows’ into Blackrock’s fixed income business were $48.3bn – the largest of any business area. Overall, assets under management increased by $181.3bn in 2014, something described by CEO Larry Fink as “the strongest annual net inflows in Blackrock’s history.”