Spotlight: Recruiting Investment Executives and Adjusting to New Business Climate

September 22, 2021 –

Michael Goodman began his career in executive search in 1993 and he’s been recruiting for the alternative investment industry ever since. In April of 2004 , he launched Long Ridge Partners with then colleague Adam L’Esperance. Mr. Goodman has an expertise in recruiting for a number of different disciplines including portfolio management, trading, research, risk management, marketing, investor relations, legal and finance. Over the years he has recruited for a number of different investment firms including hedge funds, fund of hedge funds, private equity firms, venture capital firms, family offices and investment banks.

Mr. Goodman recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss recruiting for investment management professionals and what how has firm has adjusted to the current business climate.

Michael, discuss the current climate for recruiting investment professionals across the investment management industry.

We are now in the 11th year of a bull market for recruiting across the investment management industry. This period began in 2010, post credit crisis and continues today. While many feel we are in the late stages of this growth, we do not see an end on the horizon. Recruiting for Investment and Fund-Raising roles at hedge funds, private equity firms and real estate investment firms continue at a torrid pace. The industry appears to have an insatiable appetite to hire high quality, experienced professionals. During this 11 year period, with the exception of 2020, each year outpaced the preceding year.

What impacts did the Covid pandemic have on recruiting for the investment management sector and how has the sector bounced back?

If you would have asked most search firms in March of 2020 where they would have finished the year, my guess is many of them
would not have known if they would be in business at the end of a year. How could they have, afterall, Recruiting is a business that is conducted in person. Over my 30 year career, I have been witness to many down turns including the Tech meltdown of the late 90’s, 9/11 and the credit crisis. The effects of those events took years for many to recover from, Covid was different. By mid-spring our clients adapted to various work from home situations and many thrived. Zoom interviews became the norm and hiring individuals without physically meeting them and setting them up remotely was common place. Work from home and remote working situations meant candidates could speak to recruiters and take interviews almost any time of the day. All candidates needed to interview was a camera on their computer and a pressed shirt, they didn’t even need to be wearing pants or a skirt.

What challenges face the investment management industry and what do you see moving forward?

The investment management industry will continue to face a shortage of qualified professionals. One source of talent for junior professionals continue to be bank training programs (investment banking, capital markets and private wealth). By nature of work from home, much of the talent in these programs has developed at a slower rate because they have not been in the office. Additionally, undergrads and grads have more opportunities than ever, going to work in the Tech industry may be perceived to have better appeal and be more rewarding than financial services. Greater pay, accelerated growth along with a broader range of opportunities are attracting people to Tech firms. Going forward we will continue to see wages rise across the industry. Flexible work schedules and remote work situations will also allow for one firm to have a com- petitive advantage over another. While most people do not plan on working from home forever, it’s nice to have the option.

What positions and types of roles have you found most in demand?

This is possibly the toughest question to answer because we are seeing a need across the board and across all asset classes from our clients. Investment roles at hedge funds including portfolio managers, investment analysts and traders are in demand. Associates, VP’s and principals are highly sought after by private equity firms as are acquisition analysts and asset managers at real estate investment firms. Technology roles across all segments of the investment management industry are in big demand, those include developers, engineers and programmers.

How has your firm performed during and coming out of the pandemic?

Long Ridge Partners performed well during the pandemic. I wish I could take all the credit but it was honestly an amazing team effort. Our team mobilized quickly, utilized existing technologies and adopted new technologies and processes that allowed them to stay in constant communication with one another and execute on searches rapidly. We would not be where we are today if we did not have a great team in place, everyone at the firm played a vital role in navigating the firm through Covid and beyond. One of the challenges the recruiting industry or any industry will face going forward is firm culture and identity. It can take decades for a firm to develop and perfect their brand and identity, culture is often the one thing that can differentiate competitors. It will take a tremendous amount of effort and work on both sides to indoctrinate people who are hired to work to remotely so they can truly see and understand the firms ethos.

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