Leadership recruiting in the asset and wealth management sector has followed the niches in the industry in which firms are experiencing organic growth in client demand, continuing and accelerating a trend of the last three years.

Growth segments include index investing and most alternatives but also less obvious areas, such as concentrated investment styles in less efficient asset classes (for instance, emerging frontier markets and distressed credit), solutions-based investment techniques (such as tactical asset allocation, LDI, and global macro), and bespoke wealth solutions for ultra-high net worth clients. Slower growth segments include distribution in ‘40 Act products, mass affluent wealth management, and most core long-only asset classes, where there is now excess liquidity in the executive labor market.

Investors are willing to pay a premium for customized, high alpha solutions and, for everything else, are migrating to low cost and automated solutions.

Wilbanks Partners’ recruiting work surged in the first half of the year and then leveled out, falling short of results in 2015 and benefiting, once again, from the niche players. Headcount across the industry was up slightly, partially as a result of the strong demand in 2018 carrying into this year. Demand remains robust in a number of functional fields, such as technology, and distribution professionals with strong quantitative and alternatives experience. Our year-end industry survey indicates that for most of the II300 firms, bonus pools will be flat to down. Because of the overall strength of the financial markets so far this year, this will come as a disappointment to many executives.

A highlight of our year is the increasing attention to diversity and inclusion for most of our clients. Our track record of 49% of our successful candidates representing diverse cohorts is a result of our relentless work to integrate a broader pool of highly qualified candidates, as well as our endeavors to assist hiring managers in avoiding the pitfalls of subconscious biases. These efforts are being recognized and put to work more aggressively by our clients. It is no longer sufficient simply to present a diverse slate… results matter!

The critical ingredient to our success in diversity recruiting has been our 15+ year efforts to move outside our comfort zone in building productive networks in the industry with diverse cohorts that were not considered mainstream by “C suite” managers.

Recent notable searches:

▪ CEO of large alternatives manager of managers
▪ CEO of a $4 billion family office
▪ Independent Directors for a large mutual fund, all diversity hires
▪ Independent director for large, public asset management firm, diversity hire
▪ CHRO of a large, diversified asset & wealth management firm
▪ CMO – Retail with a quantitative and computer science background for one of the largest mutual fund managers
▪ Managing Director and Head of Client Service for a large ultra-high net worth trust and investment firm
▪ Investment team lift-outs for concentrated global small-cap equities and frontier market equities
▪ Managing Director and Client Coverage Partner for emerging market local currency debt team
▪ Head of ETFs to provide leadership for a large traditional mutual fund manager
▪ CEOs for several industry associations (MMI, IRI, NICSA)

Industry Thought Leadership:

Leadership Transitions — Accelerating the Pace of Change (Blog), including
– CFA Institute CEO Seminar for Global Investors: Accelerating Change, A New Generation of Leadership Steps Forward (Panel)
– US Institute CEO RoundtableThe New CEOs — Cultivating the Next Generation of Leaders (Panel)
Institutional Investor: Who Deserves to Be a CEO?
Institutional Investor: Why Firms Want Fresh Blood

Seismic Shift in Leadership Skills Underway (Blog), including
– CFA Institute Investment Professional of the Future (Contributor)
FundFire Recruiter Roundtable: The Evolution of the Institutional Asset Management Job Market (Webinar)

Unconscious Bias in New Hire Compensation — Profitability Expectations vs. Gender Pay Bias (Blog), including
 Pensions & Investments (Op-Ed)
 Fund Industry Intelligence, FI Breakfast Briefing: Cultivating Diversity in Asset Management (Webinar)
 FundFire Exchange: Addressing the Gender Pay Gap When Recruiting (Webinar)

Independent Director Recruiting: Best Practice Review (Blog), including
  Mutual Fund Directors Forum Fund Governance & Regulatory Insights Conference: “Fund Board of the Future” (Panel)
  BoardIQ: What Diversity on Mutual Fund Boards Means (Webinar)

We remain active in networking at a wide range of industry events as both a speaker and attendee:

We look forward to staying in touch and being helpful with recruiting or market intelligence matters. Please call at any time e-mail George or Beverly with any questions. These informal communications, ranging from a several line e-mail to joining a day-long offsite, continue to be a significant benefit for all our business partners.