Asset managers, faced with the need to overhaul order management systems and shake-up their technology platforms, are quietly recruiting IT professionals in relatively voluminous numbers.
While most investment banks continue to scale back, asset management firms are viewing the need to recruit technologists for major transformational projects as a key priority.
One example is Schroders, which hired 50 people in the first half of this year, largely to work on upgrades to its technology platform. It’s in the midst of something called the Investment Platform Programme (IPP), which is a huge change management initiative aimed at upgrading its data and portfolio management programmes.
It’s not the only firm looking to hire, suggest recruiters. Barclays’ wealth management division is at the tail end of a project designed to shake-up its IT infrastructure, while both BlackRock and Aviva Investors are believed to be hiring technologists. UBS Asset Management is also starting its Project REO transformation programme and is recruiting at a senior level (reporting directly to the CIO) to lead the project.
“There’s a big push to hire developers or technologists to integrate third-party vendor systems into asset management firms’ existing systems,” says Nick Finlay, head of investment management at Hays Finance Technology. “Part of this is regulatory-driven, but some asset managers are in the middle of transformational programmes and there are rumours of big projects starting up elsewhere.”
The biggest asset that any technologist with aspirations to work at a fund manager can have currently is an understanding of vendor system Charles River, say recruiters. Most asset managers are still buying in software, rather than building in-house, and this is the most favoured. Asset managers are obviously demanding this for their technical staff, but it’s also beneficial for business analysts and project managers.
“In the contract market particularly there’s an aggressive push to compete for the best technologists with an understanding of Charles River,” says Ben Cowan, director at Astbury Marsden. “There’s an imperative to change or upgrade their order management systems, which is fuelling demand.”
The pay is good, but not astronomical – contract rates for business analysts with Charles River skills come in at £600-750 a day and around £700-750 a day for developers, suggest recruiters. Project managers recruited on a permanent basis can expect £85-90k.
Asset managers also want vendor knowledge around SimCorp, Calypso and Latent Zero packages are also desirable, says Finlay.