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Skills in demand with the Wealth & Investment Management Sector

by Sellick Partnership | 10 May 2019

Demand for skilled candidates within the Wealth & Investment Management sector continue to grow, and as we see more firms move their Front Office functions to the North-West we believe that the need for highly skilled Front and Back Office candidates is only going to increase further. As a result, the market is becoming increasingly candidate led, and organisations across the region are vying for the same talent.

But what skills are most sought after? In this Q&A with Wealth & Investment Recruitment Consultant Alice Cresswell-Hogg, we run-down the skills that are in most demand, what types of candidates Investment Houses are looking for in 2019 and where they can currently find them.

What skills are most in demand at the minute?

Front and Back Office candidates that have the necessary skills and experience, but also are able to understand and navigate compliance within investment management specifically are in highest demand currently across the North-West. As compliance needs grow – due to tightened regulations as a result of GDPR and changes to European investment legislation which might come about as a result of Brexit – the requirement to have candidates with the relevant knowledge will also grow, so candidates that are able to get experience in this area will be highly sought after. Candidates with this knowledge will be expected to write policies and procedures, get involved in compliance testing and monitoring and interpret and analyse regulations.

Candidates within the Wealth & Investment Management sector are expected to deal with exceptionally high volumes of financial data. As a result, candidates must be comfortable with working their way around spreadsheets containing lots of numbers and need to be able to use pivots and Vlookup in order to easily sift through high volumes of data. A strong working knowledge of Excel is therefore essential for any candidates looking to secure a role within the sector.

Paraplanners and financial advisors are also in high demand. This because candidates with this skillset have generally built up a client base which they take with them, making then highly desirable. Investment Houses are also doing more to retain these candidates so they do not lose out on their knowledge and the custom they would lose as a result of them moving elsewhere.

Additionally, candidates with strong administration skills and the ability to demonstrate good attention to detail at interview generally secure jobs within the sector quickly and are rarely out of work.

Are there any skills that are lacking in candidates just now?

As discussed above, compliance monitoring skills are lacking across the Wealth & Investment Management Sector. Given the penalties organisations can face for not being compliant (for example a penalty charge of 4 percent of the company annual turnover if there is misconduct of GDPR). As a result Compliance Monitoring Specialists are required in Wealth & Investment Management organisations to monitor and keep the wider business in check when it comes to adhering to industry guidelines. With the limited number of Financial Services businesses in the North-West, candidates with this skillsets are few and far between. Those with the relevant exposure mentioned above have been able to demand lucrative salaries and candidates that reside in London are even being offered relocation packages.

Finding candidates with experience with Bloomberg Terminal is becoming increasingly difficult. Because the Bloomberg Terminal is expensive to bring in-house – firms often only implement Bloomberg Terminal if it is absolutely crucial to what their staff are doing (i.e. managing money/funds – it is essential for that) so not many people have been exposed to Bloomberg unless they have worked at certain organisations. As a result we struggling to find candidates with this experience when our clients require them. We therefore need to be encouraging more candidates to complete online Bloomberg courses so they are familiar with the system, and those that do will become sought after in the market.

We are also lacking analytical candidates who can simultaneously influence stakeholders at senior level. Analytical candidates tend to be number crunchers by nature and can sometimes lack toe communication skills needed to succeed in the sector, especially within Front Office. We therefore need to encourage candidates to develop the communication skills necessary to be able to liaise with colleagues in different departments in clear ways. We can encourage this by offering them training courses in simplification of languages, or putting things into Excel spreadsheets in clear formats

What types of candidates are your Wealth & Investment Management clients looking for?

As the number of roles across the North-West increases, the need for strong graduates continues to rise. We are always on the lookout for candidates with strong communication skills that have excellent academic records (2.1 or above from a top tier university) in history, economics or maths. Degrees from other subjects will sometimes be considered, however investment houses tend to favour candidates with a more traditional educational background.  

Wealth & Investment Management houses deal with large volumes of financial data so ‘Big Data’ experience is desirable for more senior experience candidates (experience of handling high volume, complex financial data). For example, BNY Mellon are the largest custodian bank in the world and one third of the world’s trades and transactions pass through BNY Mellon so candidates really need to be comfortable with spreadsheets and data

Where do these candidates live? Do we need to attract them to the NW?

Front Office candidates are in short supply across the North-West, however more-and-more London based Front Office candidates are considering a move which is feeding the market slowly. This is where North-West firms should focus more time in my opinion. If we can further promote the North-West as a hub for Wealth & Investment Management, we will be able to attract more quality talent from the South, and further strengthen the market across the region.

Back Office candidates are generally easier to find within the North-West. We find a lot of Back/Middle Office candidates coming from Jersey and Dublin where there are big financial hubs – candidates from these places tend to have had good exposure to dealing with off-shore funds which makes them desirable to North-West based firms.

For more information on the current state of the market, feel free to contact Alice or a member of her team directly or read her blog on the topic here.

Alternatively, you can check out Alice’s current roles here.