Recap prepared by: Clayton Dillon

CFA Society of NY was pleased to host a distinguished leadership group discussing Current Trends in Compensation and Talent Management in the Asset Management Industry on the evening of January 22, 2018. The discussion highlighted the changing needs of employees, changing laws affecting the interaction between employers and candidates, compensation trends, and how candidates can distinguish themselves.

The panel consisted of: Dori Graff, CFA, Director, Financial Services, Strategy&/PwC; Holly Weiss, Partner, Employment & Employee Benefits Group, Schulte Roth & Zabel; Allison Heilman, Director, Business Partner, Guggenheim Investments, Gregory Kastner, CPA, Senior Tax Manager, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP; Renee Neri, Partner, Sector Leader, North American Asset Management, Heidrick & Struggles.

Here are the highlights:

– The job market while changing has been competitive with IT/engineering and compliance/risk management leading the growth

– The Tristate area is outpacing others in compensation, but overall companies are moving toward paying for the job rather than for the location, as an attempt to reduce location-driven premiums where possible

– Quantamental, AI and customized solutions for distribution are areas of change and increasing focus

– Analytics are being increasingly woven into firm activities: risk management, marketing, distribution

– Companies are adopting ESG policies to align impact with the personal goals of increasingly aware and motivated employees; paid volunteering and company-driven community service activities are becoming more common

– Firms are attempting to address increasingly ambitious new employees by increasing emphasis on training on coaching and mentoring (especially for managers), along with more active career pathway communications, planning and guidance

– Changing tax laws and multiple jurisdictions is resulting in companies rethinking outsourcing and contract work, including the classification of some employees

– Compensation: in NYC, CA and elsewhere, employers are no longer able to ask about current/historical compensation but often will want to know candidates’ expectations; voluntary disclosure by candidates can provide a safe harbor but firms need to be careful about questioning (especially by often well-meaning but inexperienced interviewers, and in informal environments away from the office)

– Voluntary disclosure can assist firms with uncovering past compensation — candidates need to be careful about exaggerating historical compensation

– Tax changes may offer different ways of structuring employment compensation (for more info see Baker Tilly white-paper (

– Employment contracts are becoming more specific to anticipate exit-driven conflicts

– improving job markets are leading to reports of less-thorough pre-hire checks (e.g. for a criminal record)

– Candidates can distinguish themselves by appreciating firms’ focus on profitability — being able to illustrate one’s potential contribution to the bottom line as a member of the team, acting like an owner (with broad strategic thinking and actions), presenting as an active contributor in an increasingly player/coach model environment, demonstrating leadership activities and potential (communication skills, team-building awareness, understanding & uncovering of team-members’ personal motivations)

– Markets are healthier but still very competitive: candidates need to be able to differentiate themselves and show how their goals and aspirations fit those of their potential firm

– Professionals are encouraged to build and maintain networks of recruiters and hiring professionals to generate market intelligence including potential compensation for positions under discussion

– Professionals need to consider the long-term potential and ramifications of their moves as firms become increasingly aware of the importance of cultural fit; excessive short-term moves will draw attention and concern

– Firms need to be aware of the increasing competition being provided by new industries and technology-driven firms, which are drawing increased interest among candidates (particularly given the emphasis on technological skills)

– Specific post-graduate designations continue to be of value (e.g. the CFA charter!)