At a time when most major Wall Street banks are seen, or are soon expected to be, cutting jobs and gutting pay, many large buy-side organizations continue to hire and reward top talent-including the company with the blue and white Rock of Gibraltar logo.
At a recent Prudential luncheon in Manhattan, Ed Keon, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager with Prudential Financial's Quantitative Management Associates unit told eFinancialCareers that his firm "has actually added during this downturn," on orders from company CEO John Strangfeld, who's been telling management "to get the best talent we can get" partly to demonstrate the organization's "stability and continuity" during tough times.
The trend been particularly pronounced in the firm's fixed income department, where Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Financial continues to seek quantitative and structured debt researchers, credit analysts, sovereign debt analysts, and fixed income sales specialists able to call on pension funds and other institutional clients, says James Sullivan, senior managing director and head of fixed income management with the firm.
Finance is fast becoming a tougher workplace environment. Morgan Stanley is "running layoff scenarios into several thousand folks," including traders and investment bankers, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc is planning to lay off some 230 employees located in New York after cutting 5% percent of its trading desk in March.
However, buy-side firms like Prudential have had less cause for concern, Sullivan notes.
"We do both institutional and retail," says Sullivan, of his own division: "mostly institutional."
But whereas sell-side banks focused on providing value and liquidity to money managers have seen trading revenue suffering of late, leading to layoffs and pay cuts, "the PIMCOs and Wellingtons and Prudentials are not consolidating unless a particular shop is losing assets and we ourselves are growing."
This is particularly true in fixed income, says Sullivan. Prudential's 17.1 percent growth in U.S. assets under management for U.S. institutional investors, to $290.04 billion, last year, was second highest among the top 10 asset managers, with almost all of its record $18.7 billion of flows for 2010-87%-coming to fixed income products.
Investors' flight to stability over the past several years that has clearly benefited fixed-income shops, says Sullivan, who notes "We'd been seeing a lot of money float to fixed in 2008 and 2009.
Fixed income flows slowed some late last year, however during the first half of 2011 "we were back to some fairly solid flows for fixed income, in international, global, and emerging market products in particular," says Sullivan.
There has been some hiring within the U.S, but most new hires will be located abroad.
Here is where Prudential's fixed income business been doing the most hiring, with the bulk of new personnel being tapped in Asia and Europe due to the sovereign crisis in Europe, the growing impact of emerging market developments, and the increasing impact of the global economy in general on events at home.
On a junior level, Prudential has been hiring:
·Quantitative and structured credit researchers. "We run a training program for college hires. They come in though the research area first," says Sullivan.
· Credit analysts with good academic backgrounds, able to analyze balance sheets and income statements and who where either accounting or finance majors in most cases. Also needed are experts in
·Quantitative and structured finance engineers who were math majors heavy into math and statistics.
On the more senior level, Prudential has been seeking:
·Sovereign analysts with experience in sovereign credits both for developed nations like Greece Portugal and Spain and developing counties like Latin America Eastern Europe and parts of China and India, as well as:
·Experienced sales people to call on pension funds and other financial institutions including sovereign wealth funds and central banks-no generalists here, please, only those with fixed income backgrounds need apply.
Those who are interested should not delay. Prudential's remaining slots are filling up fast, says Sullivan.