As Global Sage Expands in London, New Hire Offers Update on COVID-19 Recruiting Climate

May 11, 2020 – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain the financial services industry, one search firm that focuses on the sector sees an opportunity. Hong Kong-headquartered executive search firm Global Sage has hired financial services recruiter Simon Barzilay as managing director in London.

Mr. Barzilay has over 30 years of capital markets and executive search experience and works closely with hedge funds, private equity funds and investment banks across all asset classes. He has core search expertise in asset management roles including portfolio management, research, distribution and product specialists, as well as investment banking positions in sales, research, trading, ECM/DCM, prime services and corporate advisory.


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“We are excited to have Simon join Global Sage in London,” said Louisa Wong, the firm’s executive chairperson. “His extensive experience in financial services search will be a true asset to our clients around the world.”

Prior to joining Global Sage, Mr. Barzilay was founder and head of LFR Search, a boutique financial services search firm which in 2016 received recognition for Best Investment Focused Recruiter in the U.K. and Asia by Investor Review. He is also a qualified chartered accountant and was a manager in Ernst & Young’s corporate finance division in both London and Hong Kong. After that, he moved into Asian equity research with Schroders, where he worked in both Hong Kong and South Korea. He also worked in Asian equity sales and execution services in London with BZW, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. He was also head of Lehman Bros Asian equities business in Europe.

“I am looking forward to joining the Global Sage team,” said Mr. Barzilay. “Global Sage offers the expertise and client focus of a boutique search firm, with the global presence and research capabilities of much larger search firms.”

Global Sage is a retained executive search firm focused on the financial services industry. The firm has an over 20-year history and operates from nine locations around the world including New York, London and Singapore.

Searching for ‘Impact Hires’

“The current COVID-19 pandemic is extremely sad and worrying for everyone,” Mr. Barzilay said. “It is affecting all areas of society and the economy. There is even uncertainty as to what the ‘new normal’ will be after the world has navigated through this.”

Having spent many years in capital markets advisory as well as executive search it is at moments such as this that asset managers and investment banks value considered input from their trusted executive search advisers, he said. “Let’s not forget that the profitability of the finance sector has also been impacted over the past decade by regulatory change and technology disruption so we as executive search professionals have already had to adapt in order to add value. The type of input clients need can range from market profitability analysis, competitor analysis, compensation benchmarking through to the acquisition of specific talent.”

Related: When the Mask Comes Off: Job Hunting in a Post Pandemic World

“The important point is that when conditions are challenging then the management of an institution’s most important asset (people) becomes critical,” said Mr. Barzilay. “That is where knowledgeable, experienced, relationship-driven executive search firms, and professionals, differentiate themselves. Thought leadership in the management of human capital is really the most important thing. Executive search is a natural product of those efforts. This is why it is a good time to be looking to add search professionals who can enhance a firm’s ability to deliver this thought leadership to clients.”


Executive Recruiters Roll Up Their Sleeves as COVID-19 Crisis Unfolds
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on every business sector, executive recruiting included. Kenneth Vancini of Innova International brings us the latest thinking after convening recent conference calls with 23 leaders from search firms across the country. Also, we have the initial results from the latest Hunt Scanlon Media ‘Pulse Survey’ of leading U.S. recruiters. It’s a full docket!


“I do not expect a repeat of the rapid and significant increase in hiring activity that we witnessed after the global financial crisis 2007-2008,” he said. “While the recession at that time was painful, central bank liquidity got things moving quickly and the level of hiring activity in 2009-2011 was substantial. But, once we recover from the worst of the current situation, I expect hiring activity to recover much more modestly, in contrast to previous crises.”

“The finance industry has come into the latest crisis with over-capacity rather than under-capacity in several key areas, but I do believe that global institutions will have a keen interest in impact hires: the top quartile money manager, the distribution professional who can raise high quality assets, the structurer who can use a balance sheet to provide profitable solutions or the investment banking analyst who can contribute substantially to winning primary deals,” Mr. Barzilay said. “The challenge for executive search firms is precisely the challenge of knowing who these professionals are. Those who can combine delivery of this type of talent, with thought leadership that clients value, will increasingly thrive over the course of this decade.”

Related: The Future of Work and the Workforce in the Post-Pandemic Era

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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