Scotland’s Investment Operations market, steady in face of political change

As I slowly awoke on Friday 24th of June to discover the UK had voted to leave the EU, my instincts, as it was for many I’m sure, was “what will this mean for me?”


As a Financial Services recruiter the levels of activity and revenues in my sector are an acute indicator of both market and employer confidence and I must confess significant political change isn’t normally that good for business.


Now that a little time has passed, I thought it would be good to update my network on exactly I have been seeing within Scotland’s investment operations hiring market as this early post-Brexit vote stage.


Overall the Investment Operations Job market has remained steady post Brexit, however, companies are scrutinising hires more.  Whilst this has meant a longer sign off process for offers, the market hasn’t halted and indeed only one firm has cancelled hiring and directly linked it to Brexit.


Permanent hiring remains robust.  Indeed, the challenge is finding top talent withseveral shortages in areas such as Fund Tax, Withholding Tax, Corporate Actions and Fund Accounting.


Performance Measurement Specialist vacancies have also been a key theme within Asset Management with candidates having two to three companies to choose from when applying for roles. This demand has been a result of system implementations, migration work and creation of new teams.


There has been a marked spike in Delivery Oversight, Supplier Management and Vendor Management style positions as companies seek to derive value from their strategic partnerships. Companies are looking to assess the services they receive from offshore locations and outsourced administration providers and this may be becoming increasingly important should fund pass-porting and jurisdictional complications arise.


We have also witnessed global firms continue with their plans to relocate functions to Scotland from different financial centres, though I would say this is the continuance of pre-Brexit plans as opposed to functions moving as a result of the vote.


The temporary market has been steady within Investment operations. Performance Measurement, Corporate Actions and Reconciliation professionals are all in demand within asset servicing. Some clients have been making use of graduate season and hiring candidates straight from University into these positions.


Candidates are more interested in length of contract, working environment and potential of a permanent role at the end of the assignment. This is a change from a market that has historically been led by the bottom line taken home by the candidate. Companies who sell longer term opportunities have been successful in securing the talent they need to fill the short term resource gap.


In summary whilst it is early days and we will all have to be prepared to adapt to further changes as the untangling of the UK from the EU continues, Investment Operations professionals in Scotland have strong reasons to be optimistic about their careers and sector.

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