Investment banks’ appetite for product controllers isn’t what it was. Where, once, investment banks would hoover up many tens of fresh ACAs, finance recruiters say they’re now hoovering up a handful. Where, once, banks would bid heavily for fresh product controllers, pay is now festering. Where, once, product controllers could move into the front office, Kweku Adoboli has – in theory – put a stop to that kind of thing.
That’s not to say product controllers aren’t well paid. As the chart below, from recruitment firm Astbury Marsden shows, they’re still doing reasonably well. Or at least were – in the 2012 payment round from which these figures were extracted.
Salaries and bonuses for product controllers in London, 2012
Source: Astbury Marsden
Nevertheless, if you work in product control and want to get out. Or if you're out and can't get back in (and don’t want to leave to set up a sandwich bar on Cannon Street) you’ll be pleased to hear that there are still alternatives.
Most notably, you are massively sought after by certain members of the Big 4 – especially if you are a woman or an ethnic minority.
E&Y wants YOU
Ernst & Young, for example, is seeking “high performing, motivation individuals” (sic) for its financial services (wholesale banking and capital markets specifically) performance improvement team. Persons hired will need a “good understanding” of capital markets and OTC products. They’ll also need to know about product control and finance, and to have some kind of accounting qualification. Basically, they need to be product controllers.
In an illustration of how desirable these (product controllers) are to E&Y, the firm reported its fastest revenue growth for six years this week, and attributed it to, ‘a surge in tax compliance work for executives and demand from banks for help in adapting to new rules.’
Separately, E&Y seems to be bursting to hire women and ethnic minorities – it intends that 30% of its partner appointments should come from these coteries within three years. Last year, just 7% did, suggesting E&Y may need to make some outside hires – again, from the ranks of banks’ product controllers.
KPMG probably doesn't
Not all is well in the corridors of all Big Four consultancy firms, however. While E&Y is merrily picking off product controllers, KPMG's consultancy hiring appears to have faltered in the UK. Worse: KPMG has been making redundancies in the fashion of a bank.
When we looked (today) KPMG was advertising a single consultancy job in the UK. If you're a product controller in search of new beginnings, you may find the competition there a little harsh.