The Brexodus from the City of London has supposedly begun, but throughout 2017 there are two areas of the financial sector that have continued to attract a huge amount of applications – private equity and hedge funds.
The quest for a buy-side role, particular among junior banking professionals, has continued throughout 2017. The pressures on investment banks to move functions out of the UK after Brexit has only intensified the competition for roles.
Our figures suggest that an average of 97 people applied for every hedge fund jobs over a 30-day period throughout this year. There were also 85 applicants for every private equity role. By comparison, just 67 people chased every available investment banking role, 66 applied for sell-side equity research jobs and 81 tried to get a trading job.
But which were the most intensely fought-over roles throughout 2017 so far in London? These 10 jobs received more attention than any others.
It’s rare that an investment bank recruits beyond its regular careers page for graduate roles, but this one was unique – and more honest than most. Candidates needed either an economics, finance or computer science degree, preferably first class (most banks ask for a 2.1 minimum) and some banking experience – but no more than two years in the industry. The bank was recruiting for multiple roles outside of the regular grad hiring cycle – it was, understandably, popular.
Again, within the London sweet spot of around two years in investment banking, the role also looked for bulge bracket experience and an analyst keen to work within a small team of 15 investment bankers. The selling point of any boutique role is exposure to clients, which this role promised in abundance.
This hedge fund has supposedly grown rapidly over the past five years and now manages $10bn. Tapping into the trend to hire quantitative data scientist, this role which asked for a couple of years experience, wasn’t lacking in applicants despite a supposed shortage of people in this area.
The glamour of private equity laid bare – one of the key requirements here was top notch PowerPoint presentation skills and an ability to crunch numbers for client presentations in Excel. The buy-side is always keenly fought over at the entry level, and that’s because of what the career can offer down the line. As well as the admin, the role promised exposure to clients, which is a big selling point of PE.
This is more of a trading assistant role, and was pitched as an opportunity to move up the ladder and work as a ‘number two’, shadowing one of the hedge fund’s top traders. A £50k salary might not be everyone’s idea of hedge fund riches, but there’s also the potential for a 100% bonus, which is good for more of a support role and there’s also the chance to move into a trading role later.
MiFID II is, of course, making life more difficult for sell-side analysts as investment banks struggle to work out how they’re going to price and produce research once the buy-side has to pay for it directly. Working for a fund manager directly is seen as an escape route and this role, asking for up to three years' experience on either the buy- or sell-side, was highly sought-after.
Fancy working for a fund manager executing trades across time zones in Asia-Pacific and the Americas from a London base? This role executing trades and acting as a point of separation between portfolio managers and dealers. Experience in foreign exchange, cash equities, bonds and all associated derivatives was required.
An expansionary fund manager looking for a junior recruit in London proved to be one of the most successful job adverts so far in 2017. Deal execution, modelling and portfolio administration were all part of the job, together with the chance to work under the wing of a big name portfolio manager.
Commodities traders have had a tough time over the past few years, with revenues in the doldrums at most investment banks, and cost-cutting ongoing over the past three years at least. Not surprisingly, independent trading houses have proven to be a popular escape route. This role, focused on OTC derivative trading with the agricultural and softs markets, was the most popular commodities role this year.
Another hedge fund role, this time looking for a CFA-qualified analyst willing to work alongside a small team of portfolio managers. Sell-side experience was desirable, which would have helped its appeal.