Asset management is a key focal point and discipline within the Financial Services market.
The dedicated management of a client’s assets and cash has changed significantly over the past years in the UK, with tighter sanctions from the FCA coupled with the news that the UK will be leaving the EU.
These changes throughout the industry have impacted the way in which companies structure and hire their finance teams. The typical structure of the finance team is changing with many believing that Brexit is playing a major part.
Organisations are doing one of two things in order to baton down the hatches for Brexit: they are either streamlining processes in the UK and putting a large emphasis on the growth of their EU subsidiaries; or they are taking a stand, looking at their senior management within the UK and how best to equip them.
Within the past year there has been a significant push within many firms to look at the leading structure and the way in which it will cope with Brexit. The roles of CFO’s, Financial Directors and Financial Controllers within the asset management space have seen a lot of movement with many firms taking a direct head-hunting approach to competitors that look to be doing things efficiently.
This state of flux has seen more senior finance individuals open up to new opportunities and move within the market. The key emphasis on the new roles being formed is a hybrid of a technical accountant that has a great commercial mindset.
A Financial Director for a mid-tier asset management firm I work with said “I don’t need just a good Financial Controller to consolidate numbers and reports, I need someone that can look at the business and tell me how we can develop it and look for new revenue streams. This person has to think outside the box”. This alludes to the fact that there is more expected from senior finance individuals than just the basic ‘number crunching’. Elements of financial reporting, commerciality and business partnering seem to be the trend in all new senior hires. Working in this market I can clearly see that there is a shortage of candidates that have a combination of these skills.
The key to success
The challenge for most organisations is how to attract the select few candidates who excel and demonstrate the sought-after skills.
This is not a traditional skill set of a typical accountant within an asset management background, which is why companies must look at candidates from various organisations such as banking and private equity. The roles within those firms are not clearly defined and tend to have aspects of these skill sets.
Therefore, candidates that have exposure to asset management as well as private equity/banking are in high demand.
With the roles changing and becoming more cross-platform, the key thing that separates organisations is the way they are being viewed in the market by their potential candidates.
The candidates are not only looking for the right amount of money, but also at the hiring process of an organisation they might potentially work for. It is important that they feel valued throughout the process and that they will given the tools and backing needed to succeed.