Emerging markets fund manager: How much am I worth?

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Emerging market equities aren't what they used to be: indeed, they aren't even what they were last year when Russia and Turkey were the rage.

Interest in the former was fuelled by high oil prices and in the latter by it getting the European Union to open membership negotiations. This year neither seem so appealing: concern is growing at centralisation and corruption in Russia whilst growing scepticism in existing member countries has dimmed Turkey's EU aspirations.

Emerging markets fund managers have to keep abreast of such developments at the micro level before making their investment decisions and with emerging markets as popular but as changeable and unpredictable as ever, demand for qualified individuals is high.

For intermediate roles focusing on EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), a good academic background is vital (ideally with a business studies focus) as are requisite languages, good social and presentational skills, and a CFA qualification. Being able to discuss complex investment options and draw up alternate strategies are also a must-have.

On the equity side, expertise in one of the three main EMEA areas - banks, oil and gas, and telecoms - is also desirable, with qualified people coming onto the London market from the continent, including Turkey and Russia, although countries nearer to home have more candidates.

"Austria, Germany and France all have good, young people and many see London as the place with most opportunities," says Martin Lorigan at search firm Shepherd Little, adding that a number of opportunities are currently available in "number-two roles", ideally suited to those with between two and seven years experience.

Taru Oksman-Ison at recruiter Principal Search says many EMEA fund managers come from an analytical background, on either the buy or sell side, and see emerging market fund management as a new, interesting direction for their career.

"The market is relatively static at present; Russia is a hot spot but things are not as exciting as they were," she says.

So for those taking up an intermediate or number-two fund manager role, what sort of package can be expected? Oksman-Ison says a typical base salary at a leading international institution for somebody with five to eight years experience would be between 70,000 and 100,000; Lorigan suggests a lower basic, between 55,000 and 75,000, though this would be for an individual with up to five or six years experience. Both believe bonuses of up to 100% are realistic, although highly dependent on individual and team performance.

The real incentive, for those who excel, comes with promotion: emerging market fund managers who become team heads can expect a base salary of 150,000 with bonuses up to 250%. In other words, worth sticking around for.

Figures and commentary by Shepherd Little and Principal Search

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