Morning Coffee Feb 24 2012

Some Hope at Hedge Funds

By julie steinberg

As hedge funds hire this year, they'll focus on a very specific area: operational risk.

UBS and MF Global made risk a big theme in 2011, and, although those institutions aren't hedge funds, their experiences are enough to spook investors who want to make sure their fund isn't going to blow up. Enter the hedge fund risk management expert.

"Our clients want risk managers who understand the operations of the firm itself," said Bob Olman, managing director of Alpha Search, a Roslyn, N.Y.-based executive search firm for the alternative investment industry. "They need to understand trade reconciliations and the control of financing through prime brokerage." In the past, Olman has been asked to provide top talent on the quantitative side, like modelers and statisticians who can look at risk inherent in the portfolio. Now the concern is transcending the portfolio to focus on the firm itself.

Olman said hedge funds are looking for chief risk officers as well as risk staffers with three to 10 years of experience working in financial services on the operations management or risk side.

While hedge funds have tended to hire from other funds or private equity firms, they're also considering eager applicants from the sell side who have experience at large banks dealing with disparate risk management systems.

The final quality they want: Skepticism. "You don't want to take everything at face-value," Olman said. Having a healthy dose of skepticism motivates an employee to dig into the risks involved. Olman recommends letting that personality trait come through in the interview.

Finance vs. Tech (FINS)

We didn't think they were in competition, but new tech start-ups are starting to encroach upon territory that's traditionally belonged to wealth management firms.

British Banking Blues (Financial News)

Royal Bank of Scotland fired 1,900 staff from global banking and markets last quarter, with total headcount for that unit now hovering around 17,000. And they're not finished yet.

FA Symphony (On Wall Street)

California-based Concert Wealth Management will hire 40 financial advisers this year as the firm expands into new states. Get those arias ready.

Hiring in Ohio (The Columbus Dispatch)

These days, J.P. Morgan Chase and Ohio are going together like New Yorkers and Linsanity: They just can't get enough. The bank will hire 350 employees in Columbus over the next five years.

A Slight Reprieve (The Standard)

HSBC is on track to shed 30,000 jobs around the world, but in Hong Kong the firm may be cutting fewer than the 3,000 planned.

Getting Feedback (Great on the Job)

If you're interning at a finance firm, it's imperative to ask your bosses for feedback as the summer progresses, not the final week when it's too late to change their impression of you.

Being Dick Fuld (Fox Business)

We don't envy former Lehman Brothers Chief Executive Dick Fuld. He just left a small brokerage firm in light of increasing regulatory interest in his role there.

Buzz Around the Office

The Simpsons (YouTube)

Slowed down for your enjoyment.

List of the Day: Staying Awake

You've got a 3 p.m. meeting and you're in the middle of an REM cycle. Here's how to get chipper in a flash.

1. Participate so you're forced to talk.

2. Sit on an uncomfortable chair.

3. Eat something to give you a burst of energy.

(Source: The Daily Muse)




Play the new finance career game from FINS!

Financial Dream Jobs - Sign Or Decline
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You have a 6 a.m. TV spot once a week.
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