As most of our clients started 2017 with a zero base budget assumption on the heels of lower bonus pools, we have been encouraged by the robust recruiting environment in the first half of the year. This is a significant improvement in executive recruiting confidence from the doldrums in the summer of 2016. However, our recruiting work is narrow, focused on only a few types of firms and functional areas, generally corresponding to growth areas one would expect, including ETFs, solutions based investment techniques, diversity, and PM recruiting in less efficient asset classes.

The record broad market index levels and continued constrained volatility (real and projected) have no doubt bolstered confidence. However, despite our overall positive report on executive recruiting, there is no doubt that every time we start a search, we expect that our client is carefully cutting expenses or curtailing investments somewhere else in the firm. Several years into a longer-term trend of moderating investment flows into active management, almost all of our search work is tied to initiatives responding to these market dynamics.

Traditional sales channels in both retail and institutional continue to move through a period of significant disruption. We have authored two market overviews on this topic. The first concerns the burst of activity across the industry recruiting new Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs). We believe that the traditional sales-driven distribution cultures of many firms are giving way to a return to marketing basics, in particular spurring the use of technology, digital media, and big data.

The second market overview looks at the emergence of a “retail direct” channel with the potential to disrupt the traditional wirehouse intermediary partnership at most mutual fund companies. Highly personalized digital advice channels, like Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services, will likely gain traction with both traditional financial advisors, as well as investment management companies.

We remain focused on diversity as an economic driver of competitive success in the asset & wealth management industry. Ongoing initiatives include work with one of the largest investment firms in the US, as well as a $10 billion not-for-profit OCIO investment firm, among others.

Please take the time to watch our leadership video series interview with Shawn Lytle, President of Delaware/Macquarie and Chair of the National Association of Securities Professionals. Shawn’s insights on leadership in the industry are enlightening.

Recent search work includes:

  • Head of ETF/ETN Business
  • Head of Client Solutions Team
  • Senior ETF Product Manager
  • Partner – Emerging Market Local Currency Bonds Investing
  • Head of Concentrated Small Cap Value Investing –Target Team Lift Out
  • Partner – Concentrated International Equities Investing
  • Head of Emerging Market Equity Investing – Target Team Lift Out

Wilbanks Partners insights in the media:

We look forward to staying in touch and being helpful on recruiting or market intelligence matters. Please call or e-mail George with any questions.