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Hope in hedge fund hiring

Sumitomo Trust Finance has just launched a new multi-strategy hedge fund that will invest in Japanese stocks, index options, futures and credit-default swaps.

The Tactical Equity Concepts-Japan Fund began on June 29 with 10bn yen of seed money from parent company Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co. This comes on the back of a resurgence in hedge funds that saw global fund assets rise by $30.3bn to $1.32tr in May. But will the revival lead to new jobs?

With investor confidence in risk capital gradually returning, global hedge funds are stepping up marketing activity in Japan, says David Leithead, managing director of Michael Page Japan. And that could bring hiring.

Japanese corporates investing in hedge funds like to see a local presence which is generating some demand for locally-based relationship management and research capability, according to Leithead.

“Also, the taxation regime is becoming more favorable for hedge funds wishing to establish physical trading operations here. In that sense, the regional playing field is leveling out somewhat, and we have seen some examples of global players establishing or increasing trading capability here,” he adds.

But Leithead adds that most Asia regional risk placement is still ex-Japan, so significant local headcount growth is not a short-term prospect. But there may be opportunities in other parts of Asia for people with Japanese experience.

Nao Batangan, a financial markets recruiter at Michael Page Japan, says excellent portfolio managers who bring a Japanese equity track-record and name-value are in demand for roles that often sit in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Back in Japan, Batangan adds that while candidates with sell-side experience are out of favor, there is demand for buy-side equity research experience.

But be warned that firms are being selective. “There is a lot of talent available in the market and as a consequence our clients are setting very high benchmarks,” he says.

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