What do hedge funds want? Investment bankers may be flocking towards the sector to escape ongoing job cuts, but the reality is that most hedge funds are still cautious when it comes to hiring new staff.
We quizzed seven specialist hedge fund headhunters to ask who they would love to darken their doors and where firms want to add headcount.
“A senior European distressed debt analyst would be ideal. Given the amount of distressed opportunities in Europe at the moment, a number of U.S. hedge funds are keen to capitalise and those who can combine experience of restructuring and workout with a savvy knowledge of the European regulatory environment are in short supply.
I’d also love to place a quantitative portfolio manager with a proven track record who is willing to apply mathematical techniques to fundamental equity funds. There’s still a glut of traders coming out of the investment banks, but those who can successfully achieve the same results working for a small hedge fund without the infrastructure of a large institution will be welcomed. Reputation is key, however.”
“There are a lot of good people available in the hedge fund sector currently, either because some funds have pruned headcount or due to personal dissatisfaction - for example, with remuneration or career development - so it’s a heavily candidate-driven market.
However, one area where we are seeing significant activity is within fundamental value equity funds. In addition, on the sales or asset raising side, it can be harder to qualify the figures they claim to have raised, so anyone with a proven track-record is highly sought-after.”
“We’re seeing a big push for marketers and capital raisers who have sophisticated financial product knowledge. It’s no longer enough to have a bulging ‘rolodex’ or the right relationships – institutional clients in particular are being demanding and a high level of financial expertise is required in order to convince them to invest. We’ve also witnessed an uptick in demand for analysts with knowledge of infrastructure investments.”
“Analysts who understand the U.S. technology sector are in big demand currently within hedge funds, particularly those who can bring qualitative, rather than just quantitative, skills to the table. This means people with connections to CIO, investor relations professionals and end users within the sector, who can gain an edge on upcoming trends.”
“An asset gatherer who has topped out a fund at an alternatives shop and is looking to move on to help another firm build and grow would be my ideal candidate. Portfolio manager recruitment is still something of a moving target, but there’s ongoing demand for those with special situations, distressed debt and infrastructure experience.”
“In the past two months there’s been a big jump in demand for equity analysts as equity long-short funds have enjoyed a relatively positive six months. However, clients are being incredibly demanding. Not only do they expect experience working for a hedge fund with at least £200m in AUM and excellent academics, they are wary on anyone who has switched jobs too often. This can be a problem – there are a lot of good people in the market who, through no fault of their own, have had three jobs in the last five years. They’re being immediately discounted."
“The door is always open for a strong business development professional or asset gatherer. Still, no one wants an old school salesman; the role has evolved to someone who can demonstrate strong financial product knowledge who is able to speak intelligently to pension funds and other institutional investors. As a result, we’re seeing more analysts and traders make the switch across.”