Since the Great Recession, a number of regulatory mandates have forced an increasing number of financial institutions to focus more of their efforts on due diligence. As a means of cutting operational costs while maintaining an emphasis on being compliant throughout the industry, hedge funds and banks alike have outsourced many operational roles, particularly fund administrators.
Jerry Battipaglia, a Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division, routinely coaches candidates through the benefits of working as a fund administrator. “The responsibilities of a fund administrator have evolved significantly over the years and it’s grown to be a perfect role for finance professionals interested in making a transition to work at a hedge fund,” says Jerry. If you’re looking for ways to take your career to the next level, here are three FAQs about working as a fund administrator:
What will you gain from these roles?
If you want to develop both the technical and soft skills you need to make a smooth transition to a hedge fund, a fund administrator can be one of the best ways to perfect the skills you need to stand out to hiring managers. “Fund administrators are in a unique position as they usually work closest with the hedge fund managers, and as a result, get a first-hand glimpse into a hedge fund’s operational processes,” highlights Jerry.
For fund administrators on the buy side, working with a variety of hedge fund clients may help to increase your overall financial product knowledge. “As product diversity is an important part of being an effective fund administrator, exposure to various products may help to give you a competitive advantage over other job seekers,” stresses Jerry. Financial institutions are also always investing money in using new systems and technology, and for fund administrators this can serve as a great way to stay up to date on a variety of trade management systems. For example, MarkitWire, Moxy, or Eze Castle, are just a number of in-demand trade management systems that you may have the opportunity to learn how to use. “Overall, this exposure to product diversity and technical advances can make you a more marketable and desirable candidate if your ultimate goal is to work at a hedge fund,” says Jerry.
What should you expect?
As a fund administrator, you will typically work directly with hedge fund managers, and as a result you will have the opportunity to develop relationships with a variety of hedge fund clients. “While you might not be working for a specific hedge fund, building a strong working relationship with the fund managers through your responsibilities is another way to make a good impression and ultimately get your foot in the door down the road,” highlights Jerry. In addition, fund administrators get a glance into what the working environment could be like at a particular hedge fund. “Whether you’re in search of a positive work-life balance or looking for an employer that has a small start-up feel, a fund administrator exposes you to many elements of working at a hedge fund,” says Jerry.
What are employers looking for in prospective candidates?
“Prospective employers are typically in search of fund administrators that are willing to learn new concepts, systems, and processes to effectively manage their client’s confidential information,” notes Jerry. Therefore, if you’ve had exposure to different asset classes (e.g., equities, fixed income, etc.), this may broaden your ability to support a wide class of strategies and asset classes at different hedge funds. Additionally, as technological advances continue to impact the finance industry, strong technical skills and staying up to date on certain trade management systems will set you apart from competition. Along the same lines, strong communication skills are a must as you should be able to articulate different investment strategies that will serve the client’s needs and help the business to grow. “The more you can point to examples of how you’ve utilized various transferable skills in the past, the higher your chances are of being hired by a hedge fund,” says Jerry.