A dearth of financial services redundancies means times are lean for outplacement firms, but fund managers could be about to come to their rescue.
"City redundancy figures over the past three months have dropped considerably," says Jane Rothwell, operations director of the City office of Penna, one of several outplacement companies servicing the financial services community. "There are very few people being made redundant at the moment."
Of the few financial services staff that have been axed, Rothwell says a disproportionate number hail from fund management firms. Citigroup Asset Management Europe, is for example, understood to be making over 100 UK sales and marketing professionals redundant following its acquisition by Legg Mason last December.
If Aviva succeeds in its bid for the Prudential, the fund management industry could provide further succour for outplacement consultants. Headhunters say a merger between M&G and Morley, the asset management arms of Prudential and Aviva, would create widespread redundancies.
"There is a huge overlap and if the deal goes through, it will inevitably result in rationalisation," says Kim Yates, a director at Principal Search. "There are big overlaps across the investment team: Morley has been rebuilding its capability on the equity side and M&G already has an established equity team. Both also have strengths in the fixed income and property arenas."