Back Office Support Roles – Hedge Funds

Last time, we looked at some of the hedge fund jobs that play a key role in supporting the researchers, traders and portfolio managers in the firm. These included the accountants, risk and compliance experts, programmers, marketers and investor relations staff.

Hedge funds need qualified personnel to manage the many financial reporting and compliance requirements of doing business. This need will only grow, given the industry’s increasing focus on institutional investors who demand strict reporting and compliance capabilities, and the prospect of even greater government oversight of the industry.

Thus, there’s an ongoing need for senior accounting, COO and CFO level executives, who can command salaries starting in the low six figures to well over one million dollars, according to a recent study by Rothstein Kass Executive Search Group, which specializes in the recruitment of senior financial executives at alternative investment companies.

A quick glance at positions posted at reveals the range and qualifications needed for some of these jobs. A Junior Operations Associate for a New York hedge fund, for example, requires only a bachelor’s degree and four years of accounting experience to help manage the firm’s operational due diligence and to support the day-to-day accounting and operations of the firm. This personal would monitor the overall investment process to ensure completeness and accuracy of records, and review and reconcile a variety of account data and provide performance reports to investors.

An account associate in operations, also for a New York-based firm, would work with the firm’s vice president of operations and play a key role in helping with many of the
day-to-day responsibilities associated with the company’s investment accounting and
operations functions. This job, like many in the hedge fund industry, is a great opportunity for someone who feels they may thrive in a less structured, more entrepreneurial environment.

Moving up the ladder, a controller for a hedge fund might maintain the books and records for various entities including individuals, trusts, foundations and partnerships. He or she would review and reconcile investments on monthly or quarterly basis and evaluate performance for investor statements.

The head of marketing sought for a London hedge fund would take complete responsibility for sales and marketing for the firm. He would raise funds from all types of investors, ranging from small institutions to high net worth investors to funds of hedge funds. Naturally, a prior track record and proactive sales skills are a must.

Finally, a chief operating officer (COO) for a hedge fund might oversee the entire back-office operations of the firm, including execution of trades and compliance. This professional would likely have a legal or senior accounting background and have experience in managing a business.

A Growing Trend Toward Outsourcing

No discussion of back office operations would be complete without mentioning that many hedge funds are now outsourcing these functions to companies that specialize in fund administration.

Many smaller hedge funds who do not want the burden of hiring of support personnel or building an infrastructure, and wish to focus on their core competencies of investment research and trading, have been outsourcing these functions for years. Now, larger hedge funds are increasing outsourcing in an effort to trim costs or to meet the rigorous demands of their institutional clients.

If you are looking for a job in the hedge fund industry in a supporting role, you would be wise to explore opportunities within the firms that specialize in fund administration.


Jaeger, Robert A., All About Hedge Funds: The Easy Way to Get Started. McGraw-Hill.

The Vault Career Guide to Hedge Funds

Rothstein Kass Executive Search Group

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