Q3 was an encouraging quarter within the Financial Services Accounting function at Morgan McKinley. In a quarter where the business actually had its best ever quarter, we saw a variety of new hiring trends, increased focus on diversity and continuing Brexit plans to be put in place by the investment banks and asset managers alike.
Within the fund management arm of our financial services division positions that focus on alternative asset classes such as real estate, private equity, and private debt took centre stage yet again. This is a trend we have continued to see throughout the year with positions from part-qualified accountants right through to CFO level being commonplace.
Part-qualified roles have been particularly popular amongst our clients who wish to provide candidates with the opportunity to have a set out career path, rather than moving jobs after two years when they hit a glass ceiling with their progression. Whilst positions for newly qualified accountants from practice have still been commonplace, numbers have dropped slightly due to the part-qualified trend and the increase of active candidates who have industry experience at finalist level.
Towards the end of Q3 the senior / executive level hires increased in activity. With bonuses being paid in Q1/Q2 those looking to secure new positions have chosen to do so without the concern of pending bonus allocations factoring into the decision process.
From an investment banking perspective there has been a huge drive on diversity in the workplace, more specifically at VP to director level where the majority of banks are looking for strong female talent. The gender pay gap is a hot topic at the moment and female candidates are actively seeking advice on whether or not their own salary is consistent with the market.
Many of our clients from the top tier investment banks right through to the challenger banks have been actively seeking individuals from both treasury and product control backgrounds at both AVP and VP level. These product control positions have been specific, so candidates with a wide variety of asset class experience have had a number of opportunities presented and offered to them.
Towards the end of Q3 newly qualified hiring really ramped up but with competition from higher bonus paying asset managers and hedge funds combined with the relatively new but expanding FinTech space, it is becoming very challenging for investment banks to have their first choice candidate. However, some clients have been battling to move processes quicker than their rivals to secure their chosen hire.
As we look forward to Q4 the majority of the indicators we take into account are positive. The Big 4 continue to predict the growth of the asset management industry, specifically high net worth individuals and within alternative asset classes as we move towards 2020 and then again to 2025. M&A activity looks set to surge as well, which is good news for the financial services sector as a whole.
Brexit plans are now firmly in place with many clients starting to relocate a relatively small amount of their employees to Luxembourg or Dublin, however, at the same time this could liberate the city from the burden of EU regulation and help progression on many different fronts.
Some may argue that the EU needs London more than London needs the EU. Predictions show that the rapidly growing FinTech space will more than offset any Brexit related job losses in the coming years. All in all, the entire mood in the market remains positive and the majority of clients and candidates are embracing the inevitable changes.