Despite banking layoffs and shrinking broker-dealer ranks, certain tried and true roles in corporate finance and research continue to be safe bets.
In an interview with eFinancialCareers, Kathryn Kehoe, managing director of the search and recruitment practice of CMF Associates, says that the demand for CFOs, controllers and other second tier finance execs is still strong. CMF Associates is a financial, operational and executive search consulting firm catering to middle market PE funds, their portfolio companies and small- to mid-size businesses.
Treasurers, heads of financial planning or other roles that might be direct reports to the CFO are also hot. Middle market companies are the prime hirers. “We are looking for a very specific type of person—someone who can come to an organization with functional expertise,” says Kehoe. “But they still need to be able to do a number of different things. They have to quickly get their arms around the situation.”
That situation includes being comfortable and familiar in dealing with a variety of stakeholders, including management, investors and lenders. It’s certainly not the heyday of 2006 or so, when candidates could set their price, says Kehoe. But, she notes, “there are definitely multiple opportunities, and in some cases, multiple offers out there for the right people.”
Research is a Job Driver
Competitive times and a few hot products are part of the reason for the growth of research positions. If it’s any signal, after stepping down from a key role at BlackRock as global head of ETF research, Deborah Fuhr recently set up a research and consultancy firm specializing in ETF information. ETF Global Insight opened for business in late February. Add in increased advisor oversight and SEC probes and inquiries, and you have even more reasons for the increase in research positions.
In speaking to eFinancialCareers, Michael Mayhew, chairman, founder and global director of research for Integrity Research Associates, notes, “We’ve seen a ton of hiring, whether from the sell side or research or on the independent side.” Integrity Research Associates is an information and solutions provider specializing in the investment research industry. Asset managers are also on the lookout for new research people.