Mezzanine finance, wealth management, compliance/risk management, commercial banking and hedge funds are most likely to hire finance professionals in 2011. Here are the companies hiring in these areas and the qualifications you need to get the job.
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-- Positions in Demand: Junior analysts, associates and senior-level talent.
-- Qualifications: Analysts should have one to two years of investment banking experience, said Doug Rickart, a banking division director with Menlo Park, Calif.-based recruiting firm Robert Half. For an associate position, applicants should have three to five years of analyst experience and an MBA. Analysts and associates will do work on the front end of debt-related transactions -- modeling and analytical skills will be required.
Fred Goltz, the head of KKR Asset Management's mezzanine business, said that most of the group's hires come from a credit background. He's looking for people who have worked with credit products and are concerned about risk and the stability of the companies that they're lending to.
"The work that we do by and large has a credit focus. We're much more concerned about getting our interest paid and our principal back than having a triple return on the equity side," he said.
An understanding of credit and risk is the most important qualification for an applicant, but Goltz also stressed relationship skills.
"Transactions and relationships begin and end over the course of potentially eight years," he said. "A lot of this business is about maintaining that relationship."
-- Who's Hiring: The mezzanine fund Highbridge Principal Strategies, contained within JPMorgan's asset management firm Highbridge, is in growth mode. A person familiar with the matter said the fund has been hiring and is gradually building the business.
New York Capital Life Partners, an asset manager, will bring on talent toward the later part of the year, said Thomas Haubenstricker, the firm's CEO. "We'll most likely add junior investment professionals who have typically had some sort of banking experience with one of the large firms," he said. The hires are generally pre-MBA. The team has 17 investment professionals and more than 40 overall.
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-- Positions in Demand: Junior associate bankers and seasoned private bankers/wealth managers.
"The hiring activity is going to be across the board as boutiques and banks ramp up their businesses," Rickart said. "You'll need those people who have more senior skills to manage the relationships to develop the portfolios. But you'll need junior analytic work as well."
-- Qualifications: For senior positions, you need seven to ten years experience.
"A little bit of gray goes a long way," said George Wilbanks, a Wealth Management specialist at Russell Reynolds, an international executive search firm. "A client wants to see someone who's lived through a market slide and will be a little more cautious about what they recommend."
Institutional is the key buzz word of 2011. Applicants who want to work in the ultra-high-net-worth sector should have institutional experience. That means starting their careers in investment banking or money management so as to have a strong grasp on how to deliver customized solutions for discerning customers.
Firms will never turn their noses down at CFA and CPA designations, either. They're not necessarily required, but they'll "definitely give applicants an edge over those who don't have these," said Jeannie Hwang, executive director of client services at RMG Associates, a recruiting firm that caters to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients.
Just like in compliance, specialization is a buzz word in wealth management circles. Hwang said she's seen greater demand for CPAs with tax strategies and estate planning backgrounds, as well as applicants who specialize in investment management and multi-generation planning.
-- Who's Hiring: Barclays Wealth will hire between 450 and 650 wealth management-related positions in its offices in the U.S. (and one in Buenos Aires) by 2014. Though it's not written in stone, the expectation is to add between 70 and 120 investment reps each year. The focus is on seasoned professionals, but there's room for junior talent to assist them.
Deutsche Bank will add over 30 relationship managers each year for the next two years. There are currently over 220 relationship bankers for the bank in the region among a total staff of close to 700. The bank's goal is to hire experienced, senior level talent as it attempts to double its business by 2012.
JPMorgan will increase its wealth management teams in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by 15% to 20% a year for the next two to three years. Hiring has already started and the firm is looking to hire across all levels. Each private banker works alongside a wealth advisor and client service specialist, for which the firm is also hiring. In Europe, the company will focus on the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Spain in particular.
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-- Positions/Areas in Demand: Credit risk, operational risk management, legal, regulatory compliance.
-- Qualifications: Employers are looking for statistical skills that underpin quantitative risk analysis, said Rickart. Companies expect an undergraduate degree in economics, mathematics or statistics for an entry-level job. For senior positions, they like to see advanced degrees like a masters of science in statistics or an MBA in financial engineering. "Quant culture is going to continue to be a culture that's important," Rickart said.
The trend for 2011 in compliance and risk management, besides a holistic approach to risk, is all about specialty, said Chad Champion, a senior recruiter at The Mergis Group, a division of Spherion, an international recruitment firm. "Each line of business is looking for very specific servicing experience," he said. "For example, a broker dealer will look for someone who has experiences with examinations and surveillance."
-- Who's Hiring: Huntington Bancshares, an Ohio-based lender, will hire at least 10 more people this year, said Kevin Blakely, the bank's chief risk officer and the former CEO of Risk Management Association, a Philadelphia-based industry group that focuses on advancing the use of sound risk principles in the financial services industry. He said the typical hire has a minimum of 10 years experience and has already hired 25 people to build out the team.
PayPal, the online payment subsidiary of eBay, is planning to bring on more than 250 compliance officers in 2011 for its offices around the world.
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-- Positions in Demand: Commercial lenders/relationship managers, credit analysts.
"There will be jobs in the cash management arena," said Bob Seiwert, senior vice president at the American Bankers Association and the head of the ABA Center for Commercial Lending and Business Banking. "The jobs focus on engineering a corporation's cash flow."
-- Qualifications: For credit analysts, you need to be strong in financial statement analysis and have an accounting background with economics courses. Commercial lenders need to be well-versed in risk assessment as they'll focus on making loans to particular companies.
"You can start out as a credit analyst," Seiwert said. "You'll need communication skills to become a relationship manager or commercial lender as you'll need to manage the relationship between the bank and the company."
People skills are paramount. Credit analysts will work on a team and need to be able to get along well with the relationship manager. They also need to be able to work with the client to figure out their existing cash management systems and determine what challenges they're facing.
-- Who's Hiring: HSBC's commercial banking division in the United States is planning to hire staff in California and Florida, said spokesperson Juanita Gutierrez. The bank plans to hire commercial relationship managers and specialists in trade, payments and cash management. The majority of the positions will serve the needs of international companies with annual sales from $30 million to $250 million. The firm wants to capitalize on U.S. companies looking overseas for growth opportunities.
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-- Positions in Demand: Investor relations, operations, hedge fund administration, accounting, compliance, analysts, risk managers, traders.
-- Qualifications: In the back-office, funds will hire people who can help out on regulatory disclosure, tax and compliance, said J. Patrick Gorman, founder of iFind Group, an executive search firm. Requirements vary according to position (e.g., a tax position will require an accounting background and a CPA).
For investment professionals, Gorman said experience with fixed income products is still in demand and has also seen increased demand for equities backgrounds. A junior trader doesn't necessarily have to have years of experience or an MBA. Some funds may require a minimum number of years of experience.
-- Who's Hiring: SAC Capital is searching for a tax analyst and a quantitative statistical research analysts, according to the most recent postings on its website. Bridgewater Associates has several research analyst, trading and portfolio management positions available on its website, in addition to back-office positions in IT. British firm Polar Capital announced it was planning to hire and acquire new teams to drive assets-under-management-growth.
Write to Julie Steinberg
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