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Making the Transition From a Bank to a Hedge Fund

Over the past few months, the positive growth of the employment market has continued to stand true in the financial services industry. As a result of this growth, an increasing number of hedge funds will be more focused on hiring quality talent – a trend that is expected to continue into 2015. In fact, our financial services recruiting specialists are currently experiencing an increase in demand for candidates from their clients in the hedge fund space. According to Paul Herman, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services Division, one particular area that is receiving more attention revolves around trade support.

“Many of our clients are building out their trade support departments, and to do this, are turning towards professionals from other financial institutions, specifically banks,” says Paul. “As a result, if you are a banking professional looking to make a career transition, now is an excellent time.” Take advantage of this hiring trend by learning about the skills in highest demand, the small steps that will help you stand out during interviews, and the career growth opportunities that can come with a hedge fund below.

The skills in highest demand

A trading assistant with experience working in the Middle Office at a bank is one type of professional whose background would translate well into working on the trading desk within a hedge fund. In addition, according to Paul, if you have skills within the following trade capacities, you have a solid foundation for making a smooth transition into a hedge fund:

  • Trade booking
  • Trade allocation
  • Profit and loss (PNL)
  • Reconciliations
  • Trade Settlement

What to emphasize during interviews

If you want to make the transition from a bank to a hedge fund, you should not only be prepared to emphasize your technical expertise, but also the types of soft skills that will compliment your new career change and help set you apart from your competition. According to Paul, many of his hedge fund clients look out for the following personality traits when interviewing candidates:

  • Confident
  • Collaborative
  • Strong communicator
  • Quick learner
  • Ability to thrive in fast-paced environments

“While technical skills are definitely important, employers will be looking out for the skills that are not always apparent on a piece of paper, but will allow you to thrive in an area that is new to you,” says Paul. “For example, hedge funds tend to operate within smaller working teams, so your ability to show the hiring manager how you can cultivate strong working relationships with your colleagues and clients will be a strong indicator that you can transition well into your new role.”

Look at the big picture

If you are contemplating transitioning to a hedge fund from a bank, it’s important to consider the “big picture” by learning about some key differences between the two types of fields. For example, one common concern that banking professionals initially have when contemplating a transition revolves around compensation. “While banks traditionally offer candidates a good base salary, a lot of the earned income will come from the overtime hours worked,” says Paul. “On the other hand, hedge funds tend to offer slightly lower base salaries, but are highly bonus driven. As a result, don’t let a lower salary deter you from making a transition – a higher bonus will most likely make up for it.” If you’re interested in making a change, take advantage of this increase in hedge fund hiring now and set yourself up for great career growth.

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