Despite a positive second half for most investment banks, 2016 was a tough year for financial services employment. Investment banks continued to cut back headcount, and the slow encroach of technology on the trading floor – as well as regulatory pressures – made life particularly difficult for markets staff.
Perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, trading jobs were the most sought-after on eFinancialCareers in the UK across 2016. Hedge funds also proved alluring to sell-side traders looking for an escape, and private equity jobs retained their appeal to junior investment bankers. But which jobs were most fiercely fought-over in 2016? The stats below are based on average 30-day application rates throughout last year. If you landed these roles, consider yourself fortunate.
1. Trading assistant – quant hedge fund
Maybe it’s a sign of how much additional appeal quant jobs have on both the sell and buy-side these days, that the most popular job of 2016 would be an indirect route into a quant trading job at a hedge fund. This was an entry-level role for a quantitative graduate or someone early in their career, who was willing to support a team of quant traders. Knowledge of SQL and Python was desirable along with quantitative skills. Trading assistants often move into trading roles proper, so this could have been a way into a lucrative trading job through the back door.
2. Investment analyst, ultra-high-net worth clients
Again, this is something of a support role, this time for private bankers and other investment advisers at a large U.S. bank. If you have the CFA, can speak Spanish or Arabic and can design tactical asset allocation strategies for clients, then this is a the role for you. It’s surprisingly popular, given that the successful applicant would be playing second fiddle to private bankers and investment advisers.
3. Research analyst, asset management
Research roles in London face an uncertain future. The ‘unbundling’ of research costs from other trading commissions under MiFID II regulation – due to be implemented next year – has meant that only the highly-ranked analysts are being hired by banks. Many on the sell-side have looked to switch into either a hedge fund or asset manager, which explains the popularity of this role. The job was a relatively junior one at a UK asset manager – requiring 1-3 years’ experience – and reported directly into the head of research.
4. Global equity analyst, asset management
This again taps into the trend of equity research analysts in investment banks moving across to more stable jobs on the buy-side. This fund manager specifically said that sell-side experience would be considered, which explains its popularity.
5. Private equity analyst, bulge-bracket investment bank
Junior bankers moving across to private equity remains an ever-popular career path, but this job offered a buy-side switch without actually leaving investment banking. If you had 1-2 years’ experience in investment banking or private equity, this London bank was hiring for multiple roles at analyst level.
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