Scottish investment firms paying 15%-20% wage premiums?

THE SCOTTISH investment industry pays 15-20% more in retention wages just to keep staff working in specialist roles in finance and client services.

Staff working in areas such as tax and audit, socially responsible investing, environment, social and governance, risk and compliance and business change, are part of a “point hot” skills due to the increased number of people getting into project work, allied with the normal demand of the sector.

Another factor fueling salaries is a shift in perception of the concept of “investment operations” from a business enabler role to a competitive advantage that directly influences cost reduction and decision making.

The wage trend, which is expected to continue through 2022, was highlighted in the seventh annual guide to wages in the financial services sector in Scotland from Consulting in basic assets. The report is a forensic examination of current salary levels and a guide to key developments professionals should be aware of.

The report reveals that investment operations – historically seen as the cogs of investment firms and fund managers – had shifted from a client-driven market to a candidate-driven market, and warned that potential candidates would strike a balance between employer brand, market reputation, benefits and flexible working. as key differentiators affecting their choice of employer.

Rachael O’Neill, Associate Director of Investment Operations at Core-Asset, said: “Many functional areas of investment operations have experienced significant shortages of candidates, amplifying the challenges of an already tight market. Financial and client services candidates have seen a 15-20% increase in retention salaries and this trend is expected to continue in 2022.

“Demand has also been proportionally affected by a change in perception of investment operations functions, which have moved beyond the role of business facilitator and are now seen as a real competitive advantage and playing a key role in reducing costs and decision making.

“It is now increasingly accepted that expert personnel in cloud-based technologies, redefining information flows, providing deep data analysis of investment processes and creating an agile and resilient, makes a huge contribution to day-to-day decision-making and this has been essential in enabling investment firms to respond quickly to the market turmoil created by COVID.

Mark Carruthers, former managing director of Scottish investment operations, endorsed major changes impacting middle office roles and functions.

He said: “At mid-level in particular, there is a real skills shortage affecting the sector and this is driving a candidate-driven market. Conversely, within senior positions, there is very little movement.

“We are particularly short of regulatory roles, with too few people able to effectively support regulatory changes and associated downstream reporting.”

“There is also a real challenge for managers to revamp the camaraderie after such a long period of working from home and a real reluctance by some to return to the office.”

While the market for candidates remains constrained, employers looking to increase their payroll are facing the pros and cons of a COVID-accelerated transition to flexible and remote working.

The Guide revealed that COVID has prompted a mindset shift about the importance of working from home and work-life balance and that a flexible work model will be increasingly important for companies and teams. investment transactions.

Changes in working practices and technology platforms mean third-party investment operations firms need to be realistic about the scale of the challenges needed to support clients. The way business is conducted, customers are served and team members are managed will need to continue to evolve and flexible and remote working is likely to become the norm rather than the exception.

Rachael O’Neill added: “Remote working means that a geographically flexible workforce is now a more feasible option for Scotland-based businesses and the demand for talent in these niches has been dampened somewhat by the ability of hiring companies to have employees based anywhere. United Kingdom.

“There will continue to be significant shortages of qualified candidates. Skill set “hotspots” will include

fund accounting, performance, client services, implementation/transitions, third party monitoring, corporate actions, trading support, settlements, derivatives and client governance.

“Factors other than salary will remain key factors in attracting and, more importantly, retaining talent in 2022. Applicants/candidates are starting to place more importance on the ability to work from home, rather than a percentage fixed increase in base pay levels when moving roles.

“Workplace or organization culture, potential reward, diversity, sustainability, progression, job variety and ethics will be some of the metrics candidates will fully value in this market. more complex.”

Core-Asset is Scotland’s leading recruiter in the financial services sector and has access to information from thousands of candidates and top Scottish employers in the sector, which accounts for 7% of Scotland’s GDP.

Its annual wages guide is a report produced exclusively on the Scottish jobs market that compares wages and jobs in Scotland. The data and figures produced there paint a crucial alternative picture to the usual London-centric reports.

The report highlights how Scotland continues to build its reputation as a key hub for large, globally-based investment operations firms, continuing the trend that began in the mid-1990s when firms began to relocate technically complex operational roles to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Consulting in basic assets was established in 2005. Based in Edinburgh, it is now a £14 million business employing 22 people and working across the financial services industry, from the smallest boutiques to the biggest global players.

Initially, the firm built a reputation in the world-renowned asset management industry in Scotland. However, the success of its model has allowed it to expand across the financial services market. He now has dedicated accounting, investment operations and finance teams and also works in Scotland’s thriving legal sector.

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