It’s moving season on Wall Street.
Bonuses have landed in bank accounts, freeing up bankers and traders to move to new employers.
With that in mind, we asked six Wall Street recruiters about the big trends in hiring.
Here’s what the recruiters had to say.
“Relationships still matter in this business.” — David McCormack, DMC Partners
“The biggest trend in 2017 is who can pick stocks and make money? From equity sales and trading on the sell side to investment professionals on the buy side, we are looking for alpha-generators for our clients.
“Much was made of quant in 2016, and it remains a hot theme for the buy and sell sides, but with multiple headlines surrounding big data and more opaque investment themes. We remain 100% focused on exceptional talent and exceptional stock-pickers to help drive returns for our clients.
“Automation is changing Wall Street in parts of fixed income and equities, but not as dramatically as people think. Relationships still matter in this business.
“Wall Street can be three to six months ahead of their clients (buy side), not three years. In equities, demand is in Delta-1, derivatives, electronic trading, and prime, but also key areas in cash, driven by client coverage. In FICC, rates trading is an area of investment. M&A is active, given the pipeline. Banks aren’t adding mass headcount, so a lot of hiring today is driven by upgrades.
“On the buy side, we are seeing lots of demand from our hedge fund clients across multiple strategies and sectors.”
David McCormack is the founder and CEO of DMC Partners.
“We have seen a strong demand for senior leadership with new thinking in the new world order.” — Richard Stein, Options Group
“There has been a seismic shift in the war for talent in the first quarter of 2017. You are either on one side of the fault lines or the other.
“Using movie analogies, forget ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” – it’s getting very, very hot on certain FICC desks and revenues, especially those at Morgan Stanley have been shockingly good.
“Upward rate hikes mean that many banks are now looking for additions and upgrades. The sell side is back, and the roller coaster has slowly left once again for its upward climb. The quest for the top 5% of the leadership for these businesses is still ongoing, and we have seen a strong demand for senior leadership with new thinking in the new world order.
“We have interviewed some of the most distinguished senior talent on the Street at C-suite and below that would never have even have thought of leaving even a year ago. At lower levels, there is still a dearth of talent at VP level, and we are seeing the best candidates receiving multiple offers.
“Investment bank boutiques have been eating more M&A market share and have increased appetite. They have been draping their flags in front of the global megabanks hoping to capitalize on the harsh reengineering efforts there still underway.
“Tech, media, and telecommunications is especially hot, as well as financial institutions groups. We are seeing big demand from the boutiques looking to add to their ranks from a growing disaffected group of successful bankers who feel they have been reduced to working in a Dickensian world order.”
Richard Stein is the chief growth officer and head of OG iQ at Options Group.
“The demand for talented individuals has never been greater.” — Michael Goodman, Long Ridge Partners
“What makes 2017 unique is that we are in an environment where redemptions and hedge fund closures are at an all-time high, yet the demand for talented individuals has never been greater.
“The 2017 trends we are seeing comes from credit funds, specifically in the direct lending space. In addition to credit, we have seen a significant uptick in recruiting at both real-estate and private-equity firms. Consistent with 2016, multi-manager, multi-strategy hedge funds are still seeking senior investment talent, including senior analysts and portfolio managers. Strategies most active at the multi-manager hedge funds include fixed income, macro, and commodities (financial, not physical).
“My advice to job seekers is twofold. If you are looking to move firms within the next year, look to identify funds that have longer consistent track records, ones that have had steady asset growth — they will offer the most stability.
“Additionally, culture and personality are often overlooked. Seek an environment where you are comfortable and feel that you fit in, one that you are able to research and get positive data points on. Not every firm is a good fit.
“Just because a firm is willing to pay you does not mean it is the right place for you. It is wiser to forgo short-term compensation for longer term stability and culture.”
Michael Goodman is a managing partner at Long Ridge Partners.
“Several banks have recently taken a closer look at the types of institutional clients they are covering.” — Joseph Leung, Aubreck Leung
“The trend in hiring quantitative analysts at most banks hasn’t let up and actually has even revved up a notch. They are now trying to compete for people with AI experience or data scientists that have up until recently mainly gone to places like Google or Amazon.
“We are also a seeing a demand for structured derivative marketers that are not just high on IQ but EQ as well. Clients don’t just want a salesperson with the requisite relationships, but someone that is also scrappy and can spot the deal like a truffle hunter.
“Several banks have recently taken a closer look at the types of institutional clients they are covering and have started to emphasize coverage of real money accounts and corporates. They have also started to throw more resources and moved front-office salespeople into client relationship management groups in an effort to better parse out and understand the data they are getting from places like Coalition.
“We’ve seen several new entrants in the emerging-markets space. These banks are either bulking up their existing teams or setting up from scratch to take advantage of how some of the historically bigger EM players have recently pulled back because of reputational risk or balance sheet constraints.”
Joseph Leung is a managing partner at Aubreck Leung.
“I tell candidates to give themselves six months to a year to find the right role.” — Alexis DuFresne, Solomon Page Group
“Systematic funds are doing the most hiring in volume on the analyst and portfolio manager side, while systematic and private capital strategies are driving marketing hires. Facing redemptions last year, we saw that our clients had a surprising increase in compensation for marketing and investor relations roles, as the asset retention and business development functions were recognized as highly influential on the health and stability of the funds for which they represent.
“While search is highly cyclical, the value add to asset managers is how to help them innovate. So even while assets may decrease or performance may slow, wise managers are constantly looking to identify and attract talent in any market condition and sub-strategy to give them a competitive edge, and maybe even at a discount if they recruit at the bottom of the market. As an example, long-short equity may be at an all-time slowdown in performance, with some funds coasting on management fees. However, if a manager sees an excellent portfolio manager candidate, they may make room for the candidate.
“Always maintain good relationships, because even if there are no defined mandates to fit the candidate’s experience, a candidate will likely get the best hiring advantage by meeting appropriate and willing decision-makers, either on their own or facilitated through a recruiter, since many backgrounds look the same on paper.
“Always research the firm/position and come prepared for meetings. I know it sounds basic, but having a positive attitude goes a long way. Finding a new role is a process. I tell candidates to give themselves six months to a year to find the right role.”
Alexis DuFresne is a managing director at Solomon Page Group.
“The clear trend is for depth of knowledge and skill in critical areas.” — Peter Wagner, Affinity North
“The clear trend is for depth of knowledge and skill in critical areas, be it specific technologies, data, low-latency systems, the regulatory environment, etc. Management ranks have been hit hard, and being a generalist is very difficult in the current market. Said one managing director about an individual he had worked with and liked, ‘Kind of a jack of all trades, master of none, which in 2016 is hard.’ Companies want to hire hands-on experts who can self-manage and do the work.
“My advice to job seekers is a direct corollary to above: Identify key areas of expertise, and be sure to keep those skills sharp.
Identify key areas of expertise and be sure to keep those skills sharp.
“If you’re the type of manager who relies on others to answer critical questions, your days are numbered.
“The most significant demand currently is for elite developers, not quants. There are plenty of quants, but there’s heavy competition with big technology firms and startups for the best developers.”
Peter Wagner is a managing director at Affinity North.