In many respects, investment management firms have been the good news story of the financial services world over the past year. Although they did have to respond to regulatory initiatives such as Solvency II and the Alternative Investment Fund Management Directive (AIFMD), they largely managed to keep their heads down and avoid the censure of authorities and public scandals that embarrassed the banks last year. In fact, 2012 was a prosperous one for many firms in the sector and they hired steadily across a number of functions.
Wisely, investment management firms have learned from the tribulations of their banking cousins and they have taken steps to restructure their businesses and improve their internal processes and controls. Hence they have invested in operational risk and internal auditors to review controls and compliance staff to ensure that they comply with relevant regulation. They have also upgraded and refreshed their systems, hiring IT professionals to put in place robust technological infrastructure for the future.
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Investment management firms have traditionally tended to favour permanent staff over temporary hires due to a preference for stability. It is unlikely that there will be a dramatic cultural shift away from this approach in the near future. But the sector is making increasing use of contractors, especially where resource is needed quickly or a hiring manager prefers to take a candidate on as a temp and convert them to the permanent payroll some months down the line.
While it can be hard for candidates to break into investment management if they come from outside the sector, it does offer interesting career opportunities and lucrative rewards to the individuals who meet its exacting criteria.