Capital Group opens up to attract a new breed of recruit from Silicon Valley

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Capital Group, the U.S. asset manager with more than $1.3 trillion in assets under management, is one of the oldest and, traditionally, one of the most secretive mutual funds out there. Now, though, it's opening up and trying to convince a new type of talent that it's a cool place to work.

“When we’re looking for people that are within our industry at other investment houses, it is not as hard to convince them to make a move,” says Marshall Coyle, associate vice president of talent acquisition and recruitment marketing at Capital Group and its flagship subsidiary American Funds. “The real challenge to break through is getting people to come to work at a mutual fund company from outside of the industry, for example, how do you get that person who’s an app developer in L.A. at Mattel or Silicon Beach to work at our company?"

Capital Group is hiring for asset management roles - Coyle says that it is bringing in people across the organization in offices ranging from its Los Angeles headquarters, to Irvine, Calif. and Indianapolis. But, like most buy-side firms now, its also battling for technology expertise. Specifically, it's hiring for digital marketing, data science and analytics, IT, specifically cloud architecture and developers.

“One family of roles that are top of mind today are all data analytics, quant and data-science types of positions and skill sets are paramount for us,” Coyle says. “IT, product management and marketing groups, as well as our investment operations, are all hiring a similar type of talent, and that bleeds across the organization."

It's had to get more open-minded.

“We’ve started bringing in junior technologists with less than five years of experience, whereas a few years ago we wouldn’t have looked at that level of talent as much – previously the sweet spot was five to 15 years of experience,” he says. “We want to deepen our bench by adding candidates with knowledge of new technologies and a desire to learn new programming languages that are out there.”

The firm looks for candidates with coding or programming familiarity with a minimum of two of the following: Java, C++, Perl and Python.

Capital Group's subsidiary American Funds is the third-largest mutual fund family in the world and has around 7,800 employees worldwide, approximately one-third of whom are based in its Los Angeles headquarters and its nearby Irvine office. While passive investment strategies have been growing, Capital Group has started beating the drum about the benefits of using active managers, ditching its previous policy of flying relatively under the radar.

“From a talent perspective, we’ve seen extensive growth over the last three or four years in our North American sales, marketing and product management groups, including client analytics,” Coyle says. "We anticipate continued hiring growth in these areas going forward."

But even within its traditional long-only asset management business, Capital has started to cast a wider net.

“We want to diversify that thought process, focusing on people with engineering backgrounds, the same skill set but experience outside of investment management,” Coyle says. “For example, one of our newest hires comes from the aerospace community."

How to get a graduate job at Capital Group

For the most recent campus season or academic year, Capital Group received around 3,000 applications from students and hired approximately 90 interns, which the firm refers to internally as summer associates. In other words, just 3% of applicants land an internship at the firm, although it is considering expanding the program.

Interns work at Capital Group for anywhere from eight to 12 weeks, typically during the summer. The firm offers internships in distribution, marketing, digital marketing, data science, investment services, product management, HR and IT.

There is also a full-time two-year rotational associate program, at the end of which they can apply to an internal job or, for the ones who really impress, the firm creates one for them.

Photo credit: choness/GettyImages

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