We ended the year busier than we started it, a trend that started at the outset of 2013. Most of all we would like to thank all our clients, candidates, sources and friends for their productive partnerships with us.

The Asset and Wealth Management industry continues to experience tremendous good fortune, but it mirrors the economy in general, as there are an ever smaller number of winners, and success is extraordinarily lumpy and unpredictable. A large portion of the II300 saw only single digit organic client business growth, while a small number of index/ETF and alternatives players enjoyed an outsized share of profits and AUM flows. Examples of this concentration through the broader indexes include the Russell 2000 ending the year at the same place it started 2014 and the ten largest stocks in the S&P 500 contributing over 90% of the gains for the index for 2015.

Our search work in 2016 was somewhat exempt from this trend, because of the high proportion of searches with long standing, repeat clients. We continue to see strength in distribution related projects (sales, marketing, product management and client portfolio managers) and infrastructure (risk, compliance, finance, HR, technology and operations), each with about 1/3 share. As an extension of our extensive technology and operations recruiting and consulting work, George joined the Advisory Board of fintech venture capital firm Vestigo Ventures LLC.

Our “C” suite recruiting remained a major portion of our work, including the CEO of the Money Management Institute, the President of NICSA, and the CEO of Calvert Investments, among others. Continuing our multiple year relationship with Calvert is particularly gratifying, adding to our earlier Board work for the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, as we believe ESG/Impact/Sustainable investing will inevitably be a major force in our industry.

We are perhaps proudest of our recruiting partnership with the team at LPL Financial. CEO Mark Casady joins us as the first partner in our Leadership Video Series to talk about the significant transformation of his leadership team.

We are starting the year with a strong pipeline of new and potential searches across the US in all major financial markets, as well as working for two very large non-US firms. We remain vigilantly cautious about future market volatility, as the Q4 2015 amply served up. This means that we see very few large signing bonuses, infrequent annual compensation boosts over 20% and rarely resort to second-year guarantees. Candidates need to sign on to the strategic mission of a new firm, not be induced to trade up on compensation. We expect hiring across the Asset & Wealth Management Industry to return to a more measured pace, with significant and justified concerns about 2016 annual bonus pools playing into decision making starting early in Q1.

Our views for 2016 remain in line with our industry observations published in Institutional Investor’s “Unconventional Wisdomcolumn in January 2015.

Please call or e-mail George with any questions on market intelligence, as this continues to be a significant benefit for all our business partners.