22 April 2014
Author: The ExecuSearch Group
Over the past few years, many banks have been increasingly choosing to outsource their operations professionals rather than hire them in-house, creating fewer needs for those with banking operations experience. While there are still opportunities available in the industry, those with skills and experience in the field of operations are becoming more valuable in a different type of firm: hedge funds. In fact, we at The Execu|Search Group have seen this trend reflected year over year since 2011. Our Financial Services division has observed a steady increase in open hedge fund operations positions over bank positions, with approximately 37% more hedge fund jobs in 2011, 71% more in 2012, and 84% more in 2013. Of course, there are benefits to working within the banking industry, but if you’re currently looking for work or a career change, you can only benefit from broadening your horizons. Making the switch from banks to hedge funds will allow you to broaden your skill set and become more marketable as a candidate, as well as give you a more stable career path to pursue should banks continue their current trend. “While it is more affordable for banks to outsource, hedge funds typically don’t do so,” says Eric Sloan, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “This is because hedge fund operations positions usually require wider and more specialized product knowledge and more advanced technical skills. As a result, such highly-skilled and specialized talent can be difficult to outsource and is often more successfully hired and trained in-house.” Therefore, those seeking to become more marketable to hedge funds should ensure they expand and diversify their product knowledge. Many bank operations professionals develop specialized skills in one niche—such as fixed income or equities—whereas the nature of hedge funds require that professionals have broader knowledge across a number of products and areas. In addition, it can be helpful to acquire or brush up on the following skills and proficiencies: Advanced Excel skills, especially proficiency with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), the VLOOKUP function, Pivot Tables, and Macros Microsoft Access Advent Geneva Proficiency with Advent Geneva is especially important, as it’s an accounting/operations software most hedge funds use regularly that banking firms do not. Either through taking a class, webinar, or online tutorial, be sure to learn at least the rudimentary basics of the program in order to show hiring managers you’re on the right track and can easily be trained further. Finally, and possibly most importantly, be sure to find a way to showcase your streamlining abilities. When preparing for an interview, consider mentally preparing a few examples or, if applicable, even putting together a portfolio to show past projects in which you’ve improved the efficiency of a process. Whichever route you choose, this should be a key talking point in any interview.