Accelerating Use of Advanced Technology Significantly Alters Executive Demand

The rapid development of large language models, on top of a decade of significant advancements in all aspects of technology, is changing the required skills on every search we work on: investments, technology and operations, and distribution. It is a major pivot that we highlighted in our earlier blog, Seismic Shift in Leadership Skills Underway, and continues to evolve at a surprising pace. The gap between baby boomers using PCs and millennials who were raised digitally native has the potential to make a generation of managers irrelevant. The most profound result of this shift is the significant training and development initiatives in the use of new technology tools across entire organizations, complementing new recruiting initiatives.

Q1/Q2 2024 Recruiting Trends

Most of our search work this year has been for firms operating in private markets (hedge funds and private equity), as strong flows and stable margins lead to more robust business growth initiatives for these businesses. A significant portion of our work for these firms is recruiting to upgrade and expand talent and capabilities in distribution and infrastructure (finance, operations & technology) activities.

Amongst firms operating primarily in traditional public markets, recruiting work has occurred primarily in:

  • ETFs and complex multi-strategy products,
  • Technology, operations, and finance efforts seeking greater operating efficiencies
  • Distribution upgrades, particularly digital marketing and more specialized product and client channelization.

Overall, our clients are looking for professionals with technology knowledge, stronger investment and financial skills, and a broad range of experience outside their core career skillset. We are several years into this secular trend and expect it to continue. (see our blog on CEO Leadership Trends for a more detailed discussion).

Wilbanks Partners Active with Industry Clients and Partners in Public Forums

Over the last year we have been very active working and visiting with clients in a wide range of public forums, always on the lookout for the best talent, and staying abreast of industry best practices.

  • Toigo Foundation 35th Anniversary NYC Gala, May 2024
  • Investment Company Institute 2024 Leadership Forum, May 2024
  • Institutional Investor/US Institute CFO/COO Roundtable as a panelist “Shifting Gears – Positioning Organizations for New Products & Clients,” May 2024
  • Independent Directors Council/Mutual Fund Directors Forum Board Diversity Roundtable as a panelist “Sourcing Diverse Board Candidates,” April 2024
  • Investment Company Institute/Independent Directors Council 2024 Investment Management Conference, March 2024
  • Independent Directors Council 2023 Fund Directors Conference, October 2023
  • Financial Times Future of Finance 2024, September 2023
  • Institute for Portfolio Alternatives IPAVision 2023 Dallas, September 2023
  • National Association for Securities Professionals Annual Pension & Financial Services Conference 2023, July 2023
  • Institutional Investor/US Institute CEO Roundtable as moderator “Leadership Gauntlet – Succession Planning During Comp Crunch,” June 2023
  • Chief Investment Officer The Forum – Institutional Investing in a Fragmented World, May 2023

Technology Skills Advancement Requires Training

Though organizations can add technology fluency to job descriptions for new recruits, the pace of change is too rapid for just hiring to solve the problem. It is essential that professionals at every level of the organization take it upon themselves to seek out training and development opportunities. I am in the midst of completing the CFA Institute’s Data Science for Investment Professionals Certification, and it is a fantastic overview of the tools used at the cutting edge. The course was introduced in April 2023 and has seen considerable demand. It is now included for the CFA charter exam, with segments on Python, machine learning, and AI. We have observed firms working on these training programs across all functions through customized efforts with consultants, and including data service providers, software vendors, fintech strategic partners, and transaction services providers, as well as industry associations.

Sustainability and Inclusivity Remain Major Initiatives Despite Politicization

The language for sustainability and inclusion initiatives is changing in the face of surprisingly harsh politicization of business activities in DEI and ESG. We continue to see substantive demand for executives with experience in various elements of this sustainability ecosystem, including diversity Board of Directors work, ESG investing, and initiatives to benchmark and drive corporate sustainability initiatives. One of our significant recruiting partners over the last year has been renewable energy private equity firm Greenbacker Capital.

Wilbanks Partners has embarked on earning a sustainability rating with EcoVadis in an effort to be more transparent about our own work environment. There are fantastic tools available to assist organizations, including Vestigo Ventures portfolio company Clarasight, among others. We are working alongside our clients on this topic, utilizing video meetings and interviews, and making travel arrangements and office work location decisions through ongoing discussions to balance the essentials of both in-person relationship building and efficiency initiatives.

Wilbanks Partners’ Representative Search Work

  • President & CEO – $40 bil RIA
  • President & CEO – $30 bil ESG Investment Firm
  • President & COO – $5 bil RIA
  • President & CEO – Leading Financial Services Association
  • President & CEO – $4 bil Family Office
  • Board Member – $3 bil ESG Private Equity Firm
  • Board Member – $110 bil Global Asset Manager
  • Board Member – $10 bil Mutual Fund Complex
  • Board Member – $160 bil Global Investment Manager
  • Division Executive & Head of $2 bil Investment Business – Mission-Driven Payment Services Fintech
  • Managing Director & ETF Division Manager – $80 bil Asset Manager
  • SVP & Head of ETFs – $1 trillion Global Asset Manager
  • Partner & Head of Retail Distribution – $200 bil Private Equity Firm
  • Head of Retail Marketing – $200 bil Private Equity Firm
  • Head of Retail Sales – $200 bil Private Equity Firm
  • Partner & CFO – $30 bil Hedge Fund
  • Partner & CFO – $3 bil ESG Private Equity Firm
  • Treasurer – $3 bil ESG Private Equity Firm
  • Chief Investment Officer – $3 bil Endowment
  • Partner & CHRO – $40 bil Global Asset Manager
  • Partner & CHRO – Boutique Global Investment Bank
  • Partner & COO, Trust Services Business – Large Regional New Hampshire Law Firm
  • Managing Director & Head of Client Service & Operations – $40 bil RIA
  • Partner & COO – $4 bil RIA
  • EVP & Chief Marketing Officer Retail – $1 trillion Global Asset Manager
  • SVP & Head of Digital Marketing – $1 trillion Global Asset Manager
  • Head of US Retail Channel Marketing – $700 bil Global Asset Management Firm
  • Partner & Chief Marketing Officer – $10 bil Global Institutional Asset Manager
  • Head of Family Office Sales Channel – $7 bil Hedge Fund
  • Portfolio Manager, Emerging Market Local Currency Credit – $50 bil Asset Manager
  • Portfolio Manager, Global Small Cap Value Equities – $60 bil Asset Manager
  • Head of Investments – $4 bil Family Office
  • Head of Family Office Distribution Channel
  • General Counsel – $1 bil Wealth Management Private Equity Fund
  • Head of Risk Management – $30 bil Hedge Fund
  • Head of Human Resources – $30 bil Hedge Fund
  • Head of Channel Marketing – $80 bil ETF Specialty Firm
  • Head of Talent & Deputy CHRO – $80 bil Asset Manager
  • Product Manager, ETF & Blockchain Asset Classes – $80 bil Asset Manager
View our recruiting track record

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