Growth of the hedge fund industry in 2008 from the point of view of AUM is still an open question, but as far as jobs go, there is no doubt that we’re in a boom period. The financial press continues to report widely on the migration of talent from banks to hedge funds, and on the readiness of hedge funds with capital at hand to create room in their organizations. Hedgeweek, citing Bloomberg, writes: “More than 45 traders, bankers, analysts and other executives have left major investment banks this year to join hedge funds and private equity firms … not including people who have left to start their own companies.” The emphasis here should lie with “major investment banks” — the number 45 estimates hedge fund hires from just a few companies alone — and that was one month ago. Hedgeweek sums up: “The time is right. Hedge fund managers have never had it better in terms of having access to the best available talent to boost their business.” The thought applies equally well to intra-industry moves by hedgies at an underperforming fund.
Two other London papers, the Times (“Traders head for hedge funds“) and the Financial Times (“Hedge funds hit troubled banks with a hiring binge“), report the same story, and binge really does appears to be the right word for it. FT reports several prominent lift-outs of entire teams from hard-hit banks. A manager of one large London hedge fund remarks: “You can get whomever you want.” It’s not just Europe either. TheDeal.com has “noticed an uptick in the volume of jobs posted in the hedge fund sector” in New York and Connecticut to its job board (just one of hundreds of sources of hedge fund jobs covered by Hedge Fund Search Digest). A recruiter quoted by the Times: “My job at the moment is to take people out of banks.”
Earlier this year, A. E. Feldman, a recruiting firm, wrote on its blog: “Hedge fund jobs are opening up for alternative investment professionals who have a comprehensive understanding of the risks and benefits of the various asset classes and investment strategies … Investment and risk professionals are among those in demand.” The article continues: “[Some] hedge funds … are scrambling to hire in-house lawyers to address increasing regulatory pressures.” Skills in demand this year according to Kathy Graham, a Chicago-based financial recruiter, are: “Risk management skills at the portfolio level; IT skills in developing systems that truly provide value, by either tracking & calculating risk or capturing market anomalies for profit; new trading strategies that deliver returns with less leverage.”
Michael Lewis, a commentator on Bloomberg, writes: “[If] you want to win the recession, you need to find a hole and crawl inside it, until the shooting stops. This hole is called a HEDGE FUND.” The analogy is apt. That hedge funds are now where the money is, is made abundantly clear by wide reportage last week of John Paulson’s plans to raise a “bank rescue fund”. How to ensure you don’t miss a key opportunity in this environment? Subscribe to Hedge Fund Search Digest’s FREE basic newsletter for updates every Wednesday on the latest hedge fund searches to hit the Street and the City — including low-profile, exclusive opportunities from key industry recruiters.