London’s recognition as a global financial centre continues as the capital city saw a sharp rise in the number of people employed in the sector. With optimism in equity markets and the notion of a hike in interest rates, businesses operating in the sector are starting to increase their head count.
A recent survey by a London-based financial research firm reported strong results in London’s recruitment sector in finical services. TheCityUK’s October 2014 London Employment Survey showed that employment in financial and related professional services in London reached a record high of 703,900 in June 2014– 11% above the low seen in 2010 and nearly 2% above the pre-crisis peak in 2007. The move comes as participants sense optimism among large London-based firms about employment prospects for the second half of 2014, which is also up.
London, the world’s financial capital, is a hub for domestic and international firms, the capital benefiting from overseas firms setting up shop as the bid to take advantage of London’s position as a recognised financial centre. “London is a global city, having a presence means that you can connect with more people and do more business,” explained Avtar Singh, a Dubai-based asset manager,who has dealings in London.
2014 has been a positive year for the UK as net migration of FXC and CFD trading firms has bolstered the wider sector. Recently, leading Cypriot firm, IronFX, announced its new mega London office. Furthermore, another Cypriot origin-firm, Liquid Markets, diverted its whole operation into the capital. A similar trend is seen as Japanese powerhouses find abode in the UK, GulliverFX and GMO Click were the latest Japanese firms to set up London operations.
The UK Jobs Board shows that job hunters have a number of opportunities in the FX and CFD sector. Despite the slowdown in volumes due to sluggish volatility, new opportunities are still evident. A leading financial recruitment site lists an advert from Saxo Bank which is looking to recruit a Private Sales – Associate, the firm lists a number of requirements with knowledge of its products as being essential, stating: “Knowledge of trading products offered by Saxo (Forex, FX Options, CFDs, Stocks, ETFs, Futures).”
A spokesperson for specialist recruitment firm in financial services, Goodacre, commented “Throughout the year so far at Goodacre UK, there has been a steady increase in employment opportunities in the UK financial services sector, both within the regulated firms and those companies who provide services and support. There has been a wide range of requirements including demand for Business Development/Sales Managers who are able to bring client books with them.
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The individuals who also have European languages and European clients are in strong demand. It makes sense for the firms as it de-risks the hire and it makes sense for the sales guys who can obviously negotiate higher commission on their client books. We have one client who is even willing to consider a book split if the client book is large enough.”
The survey found that between January and June 2014, net headcount across the industry increased by 11,300, largely due to an expansion in professional services jobs which were up 3.1%. While accounting and management consulting firms were the biggest contributors to employment growth in the capital, employment in financial services also saw an increase after experiencing a 5% decline in 2013.
Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of TheCityUK, commented about the results: “The record employment level in London’s financial and related professional services industry is another strong proof point of the continued economic recovery. Firms know that by investing in London they are able to tap into a global talent hub. It also sends a very clear message that London and the UK remain genuinely attractive places to do business. Firms are continuing to invest in order to secure commercial success.”
Although recruitment has increased in the sector, industry professionals have seen a slowdown in the number of senior positions available. Jas Singh, Director at Iopa Solutions, commented about his experience in the banking and finance segment: “The London Financial Services market is definitely picking up. Companies that are looking to take advantage of the market volatility realise they have to grow otherwise they will be caught by newer competitors. However, most of the activity is happening at junior or very senior level. Most of the mid-management level roles are getting cut as companies aim to make their operations more efficient.”
Sales and Business Development Roles are common in the market however, since the change in the regulatory landscape a number of new mandates have come forward on the back of Dodd-Frank Act, EMIR and MiFID II. “There has been a rise in the number of compliance related jobs,” explained Patrick Lindsay, a UK-based Compliance professional.
“After years of restructuring, there are clear signs of businesses investing across the capital. The major professional services firms all have large operations in London and the jobs boom they are enjoying is positive for graduates and school leavers looking to build their careers in Europe’s financial capital,” added Mr. Cummings.