Asset managers eyeing headcount growth in 2014

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When it comes to hiring, asset management may be the hottest sector in all of financial services in 2014. The only problem is that firms aren’t necessarily looking to add headcount in revenue-generating areas. Like with banks, much of the hiring will occur in the middle and back office.

Nearly 60% of asset management firms plan to add headcount in 2014, according to a new report from PwC. Two years ago, just 25% of firms said they would look to add external staff.

The optimistic plans are born from an improved economy – CEO confidence numbers are way up – but also the need to prepare for and respond to all the regulations that are crashing down on money managers. Staffers with operational risk backgrounds will be highly sought-after, according to the report.

While the clear focus will be on middle-office roles, one would still have to assume that asset managers will need to add at least some revenue-generators. In a previous report, PwC speculates that, in 2020, asset managers will control over $100 trillion, up from the $64 trillion currently under management. That’s a 6% annual growth rate. Surely they’ll need more folks to recruit and manage all that money.

Meanwhile, you can expect plenty of movement between firms in the coming months, even if it doesn’t necessarily result in immediate headcount gains. With bonuses already delivered, headhunters and compensation experts expect some of the senior heavy-hitters to change addresses. Certain asset managers appear willing to buyout deferred bonuses for the right people.

“They want senior staff who can generate new business [but] have cut back on pay elsewhere in the organization in order to fund this,” one consultant told eFinancialCareers.

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