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Yes, asset management is a (fairly) safe sector to work in. No, it doesn’t have tonnes of vacancies

Banking to buy side anyone?

The Hong Kong asset management industry is somewhat of an employment safe haven compared with the redundancy-strewn world of investment banking. But its recruitment rates certainly aren’t strong enough to mop up every banker wanting to move to the buy side.

“Asset management is steadier than banking; the business as a whole doesn’t go up and down as much. Of course there are also pressures, but it’s not as cyclical,” says Andrew Oliver, managing director, Profile Search & Selection.

Yet while the job market hasn’t imploded, it isn’t booming either. There is “conservative” hiring across the board, from asset gathering, to money management to analytics, adds Oliver.

He has seen a recent increase in the number of bankers seeking a job in asset management, “although for a lot of people the sell side is still not a bad place to be”.

Those who typically make the transition are either quite junior, with good basic analytical skills, or senior managers recruited either for their rain-making ability or their general business management acumen.

“For example, we recently moved a very experienced guy from an investment bank to a fund manager, and he had been in banking all his life, so there are some opportunities in asset management for bankers.”

The small size of the asset management sector in comparison with banking, however, means vacancies are not abundant. “While possible, it’s not that easy for people from banks to move. It’s a supply and demand issue; there just aren’t that many jobs.”

A reduction in compensation is potentially likely for those who change sectors, at least in the short term.

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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