Considering moving jobs?
A guide for experienced wealth managers

PUBLISHED JULY '19

Contents:

1. Wealth Managers - a guide to moving roles 
About Fram and why we have created this guide

2. Who is this guide for?
Who we are talking about when we discuss experienced wealth manager recruitment

3. The challenges wealth managers face when moving
Employed vs self-employed, restrictive covenants, and what clients expect from hires at this level in terms of qualifications and client following

4. What else can I do? 
We can’t advise on roles outside the financial services industry, however there are other things you can do
that are related.

5. How we can help

6. How to write a business plan for a prospective employer
Business plans have become a regular part of the interview process for wealth managers

7. Interview guide 
Our advice on how to prepare for an interview

1. Wealth Managers - a guide to moving roles

Fram Search is a specialist financial services recruitment company, which was founded in 2010 by an experienced City recruiter. Whilst today we work across functions with a range of firms including private banks, private equity firms, EIS providers, and specialist lenders, our original practice was wealth & asset management.

Wealth management is still a key market for us and we work with Investment Managers, Financial Advisers, Private Banks, Family Offices, and Networks, helping them find high quality investment & advice professionals. Our team has a combined 35 years wealth & asset management recruitment experience and the breadth of our client base and national coverage gives us a real insight into this market.

We wanted to create a guide to moving roles in this sector, as we feel it is often a hard industry to move in – particularly for experienced industry professionals. You’re often expected to bring a client base once restrictive covenants have expired, or as a minimum you’re expected to have book-building skills. Therefore, you’re not just looking for a job, but potentially somewhere that meets your clients' expectations.

The brand, platform, charging structures, levels of admin support, and the firms capabilities become part of the conversation, as well the usual issues job seekers encounter such as “will I enjoy working there?” and “how will I get paid?”. It’s also becoming more common for applicants to be asked to write a business plan before an offer is even considered and most individuals have never done this before. So we wanted to help in a small way and to pass on some of our experience. We hope you enjoy the guide, but please don’t hesitate to call us if we can be of assistance with your search.

2. Who is this guide for?

Generally speaking, we are talking about regulated Private Bankers, Investment Managers, and Financial Planners, with circa ten year’s wealth management industry experience. There are of course variations on these roles and titles, but basically anyone giving advice.

Rather like the legal or accountancy professions, expectations of employers start to shift at this point. Firms expect individuals to have some sort of client loyalty, to have seen a wide range of scenarios, to perhaps have had investment committee experience, or responsibility for an area of research, and finally maybe some management experience.

Of course, some individuals make it to this point much earlier, but we also see a change in candidates at around this point too. They seem more confident in their abilities and many are thinking about taking on new challenges.

However, moving can also start to get more complicated – particularly as the industry has seen high levels of consolidation. There are also so many different pay structures and the option of becoming self-employed.

3. The challenges wealth managers face when moving

  1. Employed roles?Future challenges law and accountancy industries
  2. Self-employed roles?
  3. Restrictive covenants
  4. A home for you and your clients
  5. Brand
  6. Investment

There are a number of questions that you need to ask yourself when moving firms, and the first is “why are you moving?” Generally speaking, if you’re in a client facing role where you “own” the client relationship, it isn’t a good thing to move too often. Every time you leave somewhere you will have client attrition and you will need to spend time learning new systems and familiarising yourself with how your new employer operates – this is all time that you could be spending with clients or growing your book.

However, sometimes people don’t feel challenged, they feel  underpaid/appreciated, they’ve lost faith in the management, and they just aren’t happy. So staying isn’t an option. Indeed, you must never stay somewhere if you’ve been unhappy for a while – your productivity will dip and your health is more important.

Changing jobs is a good time for reflection, and you need to ask yourself whether you perhaps need to retrain, or add to your skills, and whether now might be a good time to become self-employed, if that’s your aim. Self-employment could be joining a network or a firm of advisers where you engage on a self-employed basis. You will be able to take more control of your diary, your business, and life, but it isn’t always easy. Even those who successfully transition to being self-employed will tell you the first 12 months can be hard.

However, what are the generic  challenges faced when moving?

1.Employed roles?

Moving roles has become harder since the financial crisis if you are seeking out an employed position. Many investment managers and private banks have consolidated and in the worst situations some don’t exist anymore. So there are a smaller pool of potential employers, and their expectations have changed too.

Gone are the days where if someone felt they could gather £20 million in two years, many firms would hire them. If a firm only had £500 million of AuM, a manager who could gather £50 m

illion over five years would be attractive. There was an acceptance that despite best intentions not all hires would work out, but the wider business could absorb the cost. Wealth creation in the UK was on the rise, and firms had more leads to share.

However, £20 million in two years, or £50 million over five, is unlikely to move the dial for enlarged firms. The risk for many isn’t outweighed by the reward and so firms have looked to acquisition for growth rather than hiring.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom, there are always some firms keen to grow by increasing headcount. They may be embarking on a big marketing campaign. There are always books that need managing, or new initiatives, but we urge candidates to start their search early and to be patient that it may take time.

We also encourage candidates to ensure that they are taking all training and qualification opportunities that come their way.  Level 4 may no longer be enough for some firms, who are moving all their staff to Chartered status.

You also need to research a firm intensively before the interview. Your fellow interviewees are far more professional than in years past, and interviewers want to meet individuals who have done their research. Our interview guide below covers some of the key areas to prepare for.

In addition, really focus on the other skills you may bring to a role. What’s your pitch conversion rate? Do you work with a very specific client group, which may be a good bolt on to a new employer? Do you have a good network of introducers? We have a value add and you need to identify yours and to be able to articulate it.

Fintechs - financial services technologyYou also need to think about where the role will lead to long term. Will it lead to management? Do you want this? Will you be incentivised to grow the book? Or will it turn into a farming role once you’ve built the book? Again, will you enjoy this?

2. Self-employed roles?

Many private bankers and investment managers are often astounded by the pay outs available in a self-employed environment, and of course you can build capital value too. However, what many don’t tell you is that success isn’t always easy to come by. You sometimes lose many of the things you’ve taken for granted, e.g. lead flow, marketing services, admin support, promotion opportunities, and pay rises. However, for many being self-employed can be a great experience. You are in control of your earnings, lifestyle, and future.

Key things to understand if you join a group is what do you receive for paying away part of your revenue to the network? Is admin and marketing support included? Is office space included? IT support? Will you get any leads? Our general advice is to be negative on your projections regarding client acquisition and revenue. It is also good to talk through the potential pitfalls with friends or loved ones, as it can be a trying time for them too and it is important that they know the risks and are fully behind the decision.

We also recommend perhaps trying to find a mentor, who has been through the journey themselves. They can be a useful sounding board and will help you avoid some mistakes along the way. More than anything, you need to know the business will come from, how you will service it, and therefore a high quality business plan is essential.

3. Restrictive covenants

Once you’ve made the decision between employed and self-employed you will invariably have to consider restrictive covenants. There’s an urban myth that they aren’t enforceable, but our advice is to consult a lawyer to understand what you can and can’t do and to observe their advice closely.

For example, do you have a non-solicit clause and/or a non-dealing clause? There is quite a large difference. Firms have definitely been more willing to enforce restrictions over the last few years. How has your firm approached this in the past? We advice planning for what you need to do during a period when you may not be able to speak to clients.

4. A home for you and your clients

Finding a new job is often complicated by the above for an experienced Wealth Manager. If you feel clients will follow you when able, you need to believe that your new firm’s proposition is at least as good for your clients as your current firm. We’ve heard from many experienced industry professionals that clients quickly work out if it’s only a good move for the wealth manager.

You need to use the interview process to “kick the tyres” of prospective new employers to ensure that their proposition is robust. The interview process needs to move from general to specific as you progress through the stages, and good firms welcome you doing your due diligence on them. They don’t want the move to be unsuccessful either.

We also recommend asking to spend time with any of their team who have made a similar move recently.

5. Brand

Is brand recognition key to your current client acquisition strategy? If so, you need to find a comparable brand, which will enable you to carry on winning mandates from your chosen client segment.

If brand doesn’t matter, then you are lucky as the pool of potential employers is much wider. Perhaps think of the client wins you’ve had in the last 12 months and be honest with yourself whether the brand helped you win those clients.

6. Investment philosophy

There has been a shift in the last few years towards investment policy being set centrally. More and more firms seem to be focusing on investing via collectives, rather than direct equities. Do you believe in this? Will your clients like this approach? It is very hard to sell something you don’t believe in and ultimately it will cause friction. Is one of the reasons your keen to leave is that you want more freedom around your investments.

We obviously called this section “The challenges faced when moving” and so we are trying to highlight negatives, but congratulations, you are in an industry where you have lots of options! You just need to seek them out.

4. What else can I do?

We can’t advise on roles outside the financial services industry for wealth managers, as it isn’t our area of expertise. However, there are other things you can do that are related.

Relationship Management
Many wealth managers are outstanding relationship managers. Their role, of course, involves giving advice, but to get to this position, wealth managers need first class relationship skills. There are a number of non-regulated relationship management roles, and though this may make moving back to a regulated role hard down the line, some people are glad to move away from advice.

DFM Sales
This role allows individuals to be close to the investment world, but also utilises their relationship building skills. Often these roles involve travel, but some enjoy the change of dynamic from B2C to B2B sales. Having a network of introducing advisers is also a real asset
on your CV.

Tax Efficient Product Sales
We have seen a number of individuals move into this environment. The role utilises their excellent interpersonal and presentation skills, whilst giving them the enjoyment of talking about products. It is more akin to DFM sales as a role, but great for someone looking for a change.

Research
Many individuals entered the industry as their first love was the markets and investments, and over time they feel that this part of their role has contracted. Therefore, a role in research appeals. However, we feel that this is a move easiest made internally initially.

5. How we can help

Our experience of working with private banks, investment managers, financial advisers, asset managers, and family offices, means we are well placed to understand the options available to experienced wealth managers. We have experience of helping individuals with, or without a client base, move into both employed and self-employed roles.How often should I change jobs?

How specifically can we assist?

  • One of the key things we can do is listen to your issues and aspirations
  •  We can discuss your options and the pros and cons of each
  • We can suggest roles you may not have thought of before
  • We can assist with CV preparation
  • We can advise on remuneration structures and assist with managing any potential offers
  • We can provide an objective review of your business plan
  • We can assist you integrate quickly into your new role through offering guidance and support through this transition period

6. How to write a business plan for a prospective employer

Over the last few years, it has become more and more common for firms to ask front office staff to complete a business plan as part of the interview process. However, many candidates are a) surprised to be asked and perhaps don’t understand that it is now the norm, and b) have very little experience of doing this.

Read our guide to writing business plans for prospective employers here.

7. Interview guide

Our advice on how to prepare for an interview - read more here.

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