While the hiring landscape on both the sell-side and buy-side remains rather murky heading into the fourth quarter, there are still a few roles that investment banks, hedge funds and private equity firms are looking to fill before the end of the year. Wall Street headhunter Whitney Partners has identified one key priority for each industry as firms look toward 2020.
Investment banks to focus on the middle market
As evidenced by recent poor performances of advisory units at large investment banks, M&A bankers who focus on large cap targets are facing a difficult environment. As such, Whitney Partners sees more bulge-bracket banks looking to the mid-market, like Bank of America began doing in the U.S. late last year. The headhunter sees big banks like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan mixing it up with mid-market specialists including William Blair, RW Baird, and Harris Williams, among others. How they do so will be depend on each bank's strategy.
“The big firms must weigh whether to convert large cap bankers to middle market specialists, or whether to poach from their competitors,” wrote Alexis Dufresne, a director at Whitney Partners. Bankers working at firms that tend to focus on the mid-market certainly hope it’s the latter.
Private equity firms need junior fundraising specialists
One of the chief focuses of private equity firms is filling client-facing investor relations roles. Whitney Partners has seen PE firms open searches particularly for junior-level recruits to support fundraising and client-retention efforts. Experience working with real estate, software, healthcare and infrastructure appears to be rather helpful. The only possible wrench in the system is that hedge fund employees are beginning to look toward private equity firms where there is less volatility. Competition for those roles will conceivably increase.
And with big banks reluctant to “touch the plant,” private equity firms are well-positioned to take advantage of the cannabis craze.
Hedge funds want the usual, plus some marketing help
Every hedge funds is always on the lookout for investing talent, yet the battle for top recruits may be as one-sided as it’s ever been. Big-name hedge funds with a proven ability to keep their doors open have generally out-performed newer funds in 2019. Citadel (13.6%), Och-Ziff Capital Management (11.9%), Point72 Asset Management (9.2%) and Balyasny Asset Management (7.8%) all returned above the average multi-strategy fund during the first six months of the year, according to Bloomberg. That should keep them well-positioned for winning over top recruits headed into 2020. “Whether it’s by team liftouts…or single hires, the hiring is dominated by the largest managers,” Dufresne wrote.
Outside of investing help, hedge funds are continuing to hire in client marketing, though not necessarily due to organic needs. More hedge funds are in trouble of closing, providing a bigger candidate pool for existing firms to “upgrade” their current fundraising and marketing staff.
“For people who are highly visible and qualified, the compensation has increased, as other firms bid high to get candidates to move,” Dufresne wrote. However, those who find themselves out-of-work likely face an uphill battle, particularly in Europe where the market for fundraising is much less active.
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