The News: Fund Firms Added Client Service Staff Amid Downturn

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Client service staff at money management firms remained in demand even while the financial crisis devastated assets under management and fee revenue.

That's the conclusion of a new Pensions & Investments survey conducted by Eager, Davis & Holmes. Nearly half of firms surveyed - 48 percent - actually increased their client service headcount during 2008 and 2009, P&I reports. Just 21 percent decreased staff. And that happened while revenues were shrinking in the range of 40 - 50 percent.

Keeping client service humming was a smart move, Harvard University Senior Lecturer Akash Deep told P&I: "The value of the assets under management has declined, but the need for service hasn't declined, it has doubled." That's because the downturn prompted clients to seek more insights and hand-holding about how their money was being managed. For example, the survey found 86 percent of managers increased face time with clients in 2008 and 2009. However:

Only 29.1 percent of managers said they provide periodic training to client service personnel. Of those that provide the training, 81.3 percent said it was effective in helping keep clients.

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