Monday, May 27, 2024

Hedge fund talent battle intensifies

Alternatives managers are getting better at rewarding and retaining staff, intensifying the battle for talent in Mayfair and other industry hubs.

A slew of recruitment and compensation surveys released in recent weeks have revealed rising salaries and a shortage of talent in key areas.

In operational roles, a lack of candidate availability has been a leading factor in creating a tough market.

“Fund clients as a whole have been better at rewarding and retaining talent – subsequently leading to fewer candidates at the mid-to-senior level,” says Khuram Bajwa, director at London-based One Ten Associates.

“The cost of living crisis and recession fears have meant that candidates are reluctant to leave their current roles unless they are made redundant or retrenched,” says Vijay Sanghvi, a senior consultant in operations.

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Credit and debt talent is most in-demand on the ops side, followed by macro and multi-strat. One Ten’s survey found the pay for finance staff at hedge funds has risen significantly in the last year and is now in line with what is currently on offer in private debt. 

Salaries at all levels have increased by 10-20%, in line with other recently released compensation survey data.

“Demand for fundraisers with proven track records has only increased, and we have seen a premium being paid for the best,” reported Heidrick & Struggles in their US survey of marketing and IR staff.

“We are also seeing firms diversify their limited partner bases and seek out alternative asset management professionals for more specialized roles—for example, those that are channel or region specific.”

The battle for quant and tech talent is most fierce, according to a survey by Options Group. 

Work-from-home continues to have an impact, with some firms having to loosen policy to widen the candidate pool.

“If you are not offering hybrid working, you will automatically decrease your shortlist by 30-40%. It is not a given across all funds, but it has proven to be a high priority amongst candidates,” says Sanghvi.

Related: Cheyne Capital co-founder Stuart Fiertz discusses hedge fund operations and staffing trends (AFI podcast episode 9).