Recruitment Readiness: Fund and Asset Managers Expanding their Footprint with Intelligent Data

There is no shortage of articles published relating to AI and Big Data and much of that is predicated on the idea that AI will replace the jobs of many professionals (recruiters seem to have a target on their back here too).  It does seem a fully viable and end to end AI solution is far away.  Fund and asset managers are however looking to ways that intelligent use of Data and Analytics can add value to the business, empowering firms to better deploy their resources.

Applications of data and decision science has been a feature of many fund and asset managers for building quantitative investment and risk models and the scope of its application is now changing beyond these departments.  A growing number of firms have sought to invest in their data teams, working to enhance the capability of distribution teams by applying data science and advanced analytics to their distribution models.  This has seen organizations shift to a more targeted engagement model for working with clients and coordinating sales visits.  This has freed up much of the sales force to engage with higher priority and often more profitable opportunities.

Implementing Data

After seeing real results from implementing data driven changes, demand for data skilled talent is growing along with its adoption.  To roll out any such changes, companies need to review and enhance their Data Architecture, Data Governance and Data Quality Management processes.  The last 12 months has seen considerable growth in opportunities and wages for Data Architects, Data Scientists, Data Engineers, Data Governance Managers as well as project services candidates with strong data migration and management backgrounds.

Beyond the distribution teams, data is being used to make enhancements to middle and back office operations, allowing some of our clients to reduce costs through the increased process automation, better administration efficiency and automated systems for monitoring of crime and trade surveillance.  Accessing data and information has elevated in importance, as many legacy products do not provide the required capability to do advanced modelling.

Migration to new systems such as BlackRock’s Aladdin platform or SimCorp Dimension has been a feature over the last 12 months, with a number of other firms looking to make the transition over the next due to the better access to data and information. For a clearer indication on how we see the market salaries for Data skills, Data Science, Business Analysts, please contact shane.nash@kapital.com.au.

Market salaries

Overall, the market is offering rates for candidates with certain skills in systems or product knowledge.  Programs such as the CHESS Replacement program have attracted many Project Services BA’s and PM’s with knowledge of the equities trade life cycle.  Systems migrations to Aladdin or Dimension have provided attractive rates for BA’s and PM’s with legacy or incumbent platform knowledge.

Beyond this area we are also seeing investment going into Data Product Creation, with firms looking to make the most of incoming data or historical data.  Organizations with large amounts of unpublished data such as Stock Exchanges are rolling out data platforms known as a “Data Sandbox” allowing organizations to capture value in big data, and providing the opportunities for other organizations to run proprietary data into platforms to gather further insights.

All things considered, Fund and Asset Managers are ready to embark on the next stage of their journeys, with Data Driven changes enabling firms to realise efficiencies, savings and growing revenue, demand for data driven talent with knowledge of the buy side industry still valuable, however, relevant market knowledge may not be as mandatory to some other areas of the business such as sales, marketing and distribution.

For more information on current market and trends, please reach out to shane.nash@kapital.com.au or follow Shane on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shane-nash-9b2231a0/

3 strategies Investment and Funds Management firms should adopt in 2020:

As an Australian Investment or Funds Management firm, you will know that the market is tough, competition is rife and commissions are getting squeezed. So how do you differentiate yourselves against your competition?

As one of the leading Fintech recruitment firms in Australia, we have seen what our clients have and have not been doing, relative to their competitors. So let us break down the 3 strategies we think you should adopt for 2020.

1.Technologies

What Technologies are you currently using and are they fit for purpose in this vastly changing technology landscape? What Systems and tech stacks are you looking at? What is the market demand and supply for such skills and technologies and also what are the costs for on-prem vs SaaS or DaaS solutions for investment managers?

We are seeing a huge demand for Data Analytics professionals with Tableau, PowerBI or Alteryx to get raw data and provide insights across various demographics and market shifts.

Market demand is vastly growing for Machine Learning/AI and Data Science tools across the investment management industry. These skills are brought in-house to help portfolio managers and traders make better and more educated decisions through the use of text mining and social media scraping to validate and substantiate findings and insights.

There is also an increased demand within our buy-side clients for Data and Quant Programmers/Analyst Programmers who are experienced with R, Python and Matlab but who also have an accounting or an applied finance degree.

In terms of systems, are you still running Excel/VBA Spreadsheets? There are many diverse platforms on the market which can help you scale through the use of investment systems. These could be Charles River, Blackrock Aladdin, MarkitEDM / Cadis, Thinkfolio, SimCorp Dimension and are you utilising it for Front, Middle or Back Office functionality or all 3? Some of these systems can be quite costly and selecting the best one for your company, 5-10yrs from now rather than at this present time, is vastly important and I’ll summarise why;

In the financial services sector, Australia has slowly moved away from heavy sell-side activity and there is less happening locally with investment banks compared to 10 years ago. I remember being inundated with technology jobs for major global banks such as Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch, but less so since 2012.

If anything, many of the large global investment banks are streamlining their Australian operations and moving them to regional hubs such as Singapore or Hong Kong or back to head office in Europe or the States. Australia is increasingly becoming more tailored towards our traditional buy-side safe havens being Superannuation, Wealth, Annuities, Funds, Investments and Custodian businesses.

This brings about an increase in large technology transformations, M&A and divestment activity which we are working on for our clients and which will continue. Thus, to be positioned well for such programs for your potential clients, ensure you have systems fit for purpose long term.

2.You need to adopt a core SAR Strategy

I’m not talking about your Stop and Reverse Trading strategies, actually something vastly different. I am referring to:

Selection – what are all the Omnichannels available for you to engage with possible candidates to join your organisation? How have you selected your go-to-market strategy for this? Which recruitment firms are you partnering with? What channels are you missing out on?
Attraction – Do you have a reputable brand in the market? Is there a positive word of mouth out in the market surrounding your brand? Are you using the right recruitment firms who a) understand your market and b) are well placed to attract the right candidates into your recruitment funnel to open up meaningful discussions? Then once you have the candidates, how are you going to attract them to your organisation rather than a competitors during the interview process?
Retain – Now you have a great hire in place, what are you doing to keep them happy and challenged within your organisation? What new technologies are you adopting? What makes them want to stay in your firm rather than popping their heads up to see what else is out there?

3.Do what is right for your company

Yes it is important to have a handle on what systems your competitors are using but make sure you are selecting the right systems, technology and hiring the right personnel which are fit for your business and not just because your competitors are doing so. If you do that you will be following the path which the industry takes and not setting the course for the industry’s future.

As a niche Fintech recruitment firm, we have been helping numerous Funds, Asset and Investment firms across Australia with all levels of tech hires. We can help you select and attract top talent and look at avenues or retaining those hires.

If you’d like to find out more reach out to us, we are more than willing to assist where we can at sean.turner@kapital.com.au

I hope this has been useful.


Sean Turner – Founder and Director, Kapital Consulting

Recruitment . Made . Simple

Recruitment Ready: A snapshot of the forces driving demand for data talent

Technology is becoming a mandatory feature of regulation and changes, that is to say that data is empowering organizations to make better decisions, and at the same time it is being regulated and protected. While the use of Data is said to be one of the key drivers of an organisation’s success, using data incorrectly is not only expensive in opportunity costs, but also in potential fines for regulators when breaches are discovered.  It is mandatory that firms meet regulatory requirements and respond to changes. The effective use of data can empower an organisation to properly monitor, detect and respond to potential risk.  We’ve seen this impacting the wider technology recruitment market.

There has never been a better time for organisations to deploy technology and data to solve regulatory challenges.  Intelligent use of data is being deployed in many ways across organisations to garner results, with artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science a critical feature of many organizations decision process.  Data driven solutions are having a profound impact on how an organisation monitor activity, detect breaches and manage potential crime and regulatory risk to avoid loss and costly fines.  Not only can data assist in avoiding such costs, it can also make processes more efficient to better prioritise innovation and prioritise more transparency.  

Data Scientists are an integral piece to insurers, consulting firms and banks, with roles of actuaries, data analysts, pricing analysts and risk analyst changing.  As data savvy talent are providing more and more value to the organization where they ply their trade, it is understandable that the cost of attracting such talent is increasing.  For example, the cost of demanding the best Data Scientists to gleam new insights for a business is not only in the form of salary, it comes also in the form of benefits provided by the firm.  

The real cost comes in organisations having appropriate strategies to ensure that the data is captured, structured and shared appropriately.  A data transformation can require substantial investment in new systems, processes and implementation.  Changes to Data Governance, Data Pipelines, Data Quality and Master Data Management necessitate data focused Architects, Project Managers, Engineers and Business Analysts.  

Regulatory changes such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), codifying guidelines on data and its protection is a European Union initiative however the globalisation of the economy means that it is being adopted by any organisation who may interact with EU citizens.  Similarly, global accounting standards such as IFRS17, specific to insurers is being adopted by major firms globally, impacting insurance contracts and their underlying revenue, with a deadline set for early 2021.  

The impact of global initiatives and changes increases short-term (1 -3 years) demand of the Technology Staff with strong understanding of Data and experience in regulatory change, such as GDPR or IFRS17.  There is a further premium for those with such experience as well as strong business stakeholder skills to engage with business, compliance and marketing functions.  Currently, many of these SME’s are employed by the Top 4 consulting firms.  The positions below represent some of the placements we are seeing here at Kapital (for further information on salaries, bonuses and day rates for the below, please contact shane.nash@kapital.com.au).

Head of Data

Data Analytics Lead

Data Scientist

Data Architect

Data Engineer

Salary ranges can vary vastly due to the dependent on the specialised knowledge and skills of candidates.  Those with strong technology skills and the ability to engage with business functions effectively are proving to be the most in demand due to the additional value they provide.  Business acumen, influence and emotional intelligence to navigate complex change associated with such projects as data transformation and or regulation changers is a mandatory feature to the success of any change.  The consequence of this is that the overall cost is often greater for organisations seeking talent with such attributes.  Retention of such talent will also be a key feature of any organisation in the current market.  

As the use of data is such a powerful magnifier for all organisations, data talent, unlike many of the other areas of technology before are industry agnostic.  The result of this is that banks, consulting firms, insurers and fund managers are competing with the likes of Google or Atlassian to bring on the best talent.  The demand for data skills will likely continue to grow, so how organisations work with their best data talent to provide value to them will be a key feature.  

For more information on current market and trends, please reach out to shane.nash@kapital.com.au or follow Shane on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shane-nash-9b2231a0/

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is affecting the recruitment industry

Hey guys,

In this newsletter we’re going to discuss the ways Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are affecting the recruitment industry as well as how they affect client-side talent acquisition teams. Although AI and ML have brought lots of positive changes, it’s always a good idea to examine the possible downsides too. Examining both sides of the argument is the best way to prepare for the changes AI and ML could bring.

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are changing the recruitment industry

Both AI and ML are excellent for automating processes. There’s no denying that recruitment can feel a little time-consuming, especially when we’re in the earlier phases of sifting out unsuitable candidates. When AI and ML work to automate correctly, they give recruitment teams extra time to spend on the more important aspects of the hiring process.

Now, although all this automation is excellent in terms of efficiency, there are a few shortfalls. In order for AI and ML to automate successfully, they need to mimic the behaviours of those who would usually eliminate unsuitable candidates during the early phases of recruitment. AI and ML are technologies which have algorithms who’s sole purpose is to “learn” behavioural patterns, predict outcomes and relies heavily on the person imputing the data to ascertain what is good and reliable for its use. That person is likely to focus on what has worked well for the company in the past and if the company is trying to change their hiring process and aim to unearth niche talent pools of candidates with innovative, entrepreneurial ideas and new ways of thinking, then how would this work? As these platforms are based on historical search patterns and learned behaviour, once those behaviours are in place for the AI software to use, they’re hard to alter even when a company needs to change its approach to hiring.

AI and ML could potentially exclude highly-qualified candidates

Let’s say the behaviours inputted into autobots that exclude candidates and don’t look beyond basic flaws for human explanations. One example of this is excluding candidates with gaps in their CV’s. Unfortunately, this could result in the exclusion of highly-qualified, career rich and excellent candidates who’ve taken career breaks for secondments or parents returning to the workplace who have years of experience behind them.

The autobots filtering candidates are only as good as the person programming behaviour criteria

It’s always worth remembering that the autobots that filter candidates during a recruitment process are dependent on human programming. As such, if the person inputting behaviours isn’t overly familiar with the industry they’re representing, they could accidentally encourage inappropriate candidates through the recruitment process.

For example, in the tech world there are significant differences between a Python, Javascript front end developer, a Python Automation Programmer and a Software Engineer with basic Python. If the human providing the autobots with search patterns and behaviours doesn’t recognise this, AI and ML then becomes burdensome in the recruitment processes rather than efficient.

One of our best hires to date was a 24 year old with a long standing financial services client  of ours in Sydney. His profile was a mix of Cisco Networking, .Net Development, Text Mining, Social Scraping and some Python within DevOps. I can almost guarantee that he would not have shown up through the use of AI and ML for a Data Analysis SME (Subject Matter Expert) within a trading environment and this is where the inquisitiveness of the human mind over a machine prompted our team to meet him and 3 years later he is still one of their best hires.  

However, we can use AI and ML, we just need to use them wisely

At Kapital, we believe that there is a place in recruitment for AI and ML. However, we’re also of the mindset that we need to test software cautiously and provide the right level of human input to ensure it’s successful. This usually means finding software programs that are culturally appropriate and right for each unique recruitment process.

As an IT recruitment agency, we take a forward-thinking approach that uses software and human skills. Our consultants cover multiple technical disciplines for individual clients across industries creating “one touch points” for our clients and HR/Talent Teams, which means you can avoid the costly mistakes that come with poorly implemented AI recruitment processes.

Remember to follow our company page here and you can view our other newsletters here.

Till next time from The Kapital Team – Recruitment Made Simple

2018 IT Recruitment Newsletter for Finance, Prop Trading & Funds Management clients


Hey guys and welcome to the 2018 addition of our Kapital IT Recruitment newsletter for Prop Trading and Funds Management clients. In this issue we will talk about the number of clients we service in each space, market movements, placements, what we seeing with salaries and also what we expecting for 2019.

Quick Market Summary across Financial Services

The financial services industry, right across the board in retail banking, superannuation and parts of insurance, continue to get hit very hard with the Royal Commission and as such the majority of hiring has been for Risk and Compliance and very specialist technologists to work on systems which can help with regulation and reporting around the issues they are facing. We see this continuing for at least the next 3-6 months

Tech and FinTech Start-ups have grown substantially over the last 12 months with a number of new entrants into the market. The big focus for the newcomers is around open source and cheap technology which can be leveraged across their platforms. For more established props, there seems to be more of a bullish push across DevOps and Automation to synchronize there trading activity

There are also a number of Financial Services clients across the board who are embarking on BigData Delivery and Greenfield Data Analytics builds to commercialize large data sets and leverage legacy system builds

So lets start with our Prop Trading clients. Kapital is on the panel for 5 Prop Trading clients across Australia and 1 in Hong Kong. We are also working with 2 new prop trading start-ups (one in Sydney and another in Melbourne) over the last couple of months who are seeing tremendous growth and solid backing. The prop trading space as always is about speed to market, efficiency and ease of market access. This year we have noticed a huge increase in the demand from prop trading clients looking for DevOps, Automation and Data Analytics / Visualization skillsets. The usual Network, Infra and Development positions are still being sourced as teams grow and 2 of our clients have moved offices this year to new upmarket and funky locations. There has also been a number of clients opening up new trading desks to target Asian exchanges with a lesser focus on the US and EU for now.

In terms of prop trading placements, Kapital has placed : 

  • Snr Exchange Connectivity/Market Links Engineer
  • Trading systems Apps support
  • DevOps Engineer
  • Desktop support
  • Python software engineer
  • Project Manager
  • C++ Developer
  • Tech support specialist (Network and Infra)
  • FPGA/VHDL/C++ Dev

Prop Trading salaries and threats

We are seeing Prop market salaries lift across most prop trading clients of ours in Australia. This is as a result of a number of job being turned down for tech start-up job offers in the market and high day rate contracts with banks working on Royal commission tech initiatives. The number of tech and FinTech start-ups across Australia has grown tremendously and has had an unprecedented effect on hires across not just prop trading but other industries too. We are seeing VC incubators moving start-ups from angel funding to Series A funding and now many start-ups who were assisted by the likes of stone and chalk or blue chilli are hitting the market in high volumes with financial backing. Start-ups are paying decent salaries with share options on top for the right skillsets. The market still has to be educated on the potentially high bonuses which prop trading clients have to offer. The length of the interview process is also proving to be a bit of a hurdle. All props are wanting top end candidates and therefore give them a lengthy tech interview process, start-ups on the other hand are only initiating 1-2 tech assessments then making a decision pretty quickly which is also a threat for props.

What we are seeing for 2019

There will be more hiring of similar skills but we feel the Automation and Data Analytics space will take off next year across many props. We will continue to face similar issues with start-up competitors and agencies on your panels need to ensure they are communicating the prop offering to potential hires better than ever

Moving onto Funds / Investment Management clients. Kapital is on the panel of 6 clients across Funds/Investment Management in Australia and also working closely with 2 others. This industry has seen a huge uplift of both temp-2-perm, converting contractors and also hiring of Data Analytics SMEs. There’s been a lot of new acquisitions of customers on-boarding and transitioning funds which is creating and cultivating a market of buoyancy which we see continuing through 2019. Funds and investment management along with many other industries are seeing a hike and review of their data Analytics platforms and how they can assist sales distribution teams on the road in front of customers with the use of Tableau, PowerBI, Snowplow or Alteryx tools which is exciting times ahead for funds management. We have also seen a number of tech initiatives across the funds industry in Australia from new Fund/OMS system builds, Reporting initiatives and new CRM system builds. None of our clients have moved locations this year and have all been hiring on a decent level across all technical disciplines.

In terms of Funds/Investment Management placements, Kapital has placed :

  • Program Manager
  • Technology Project Manager
  • Test Manager
  • Lead Tech BA
  • 3 x Tech BA’s
  • Front Office Equities Tech BA
  • 2 x Data Analytics SMEs
  • Change Manager
  • C#.Net Developer
  • Desktop Support

Salaries and threats

Salaries have been pretty consistent with no real rise other than Data Analytics and Visualisation SMEs (probably the 2nd highest pay to a head of tech across all industries). We tend to find candidates across funds have a genuine interest in funds and investment management and although we had a couple of offers being countered, we are seeing that generally candidates are loyal to staying within this space as the industry fund systems and exposure to full life cycle trade processes keeps it interesting. We are seeing a lot of new projects and initiatives starting up across our client base ranging from fund onboarding, analytics and CRM.

What we are seeing for 2019

The industry is showing no real sign of softening with regards to projects and hiring for 2019. We foresee more clients will come onboard the Data Analytics and Visualisation path and salaries in this space will continue to rise.

We hope you have received some useful information and if there is any other information you wish to see either now or in our next issue, please let us know.

Also check out our other startup newsletter here and remember to follow us on Kapital Consulting

Till next time.

2018 IT Recruitment Newsletter for startups


Welcome back and we hope your 2018 year finished with a bang and that you have set yourselves up for 2019 success. One of the key elements for a successful startup, regardless of industry, is to make sure you have a unique value proposition and that you have a product or service which is truly fixing a need, gap in the market or an inherent business pain, something that is broken or in need of bettering or automating to make more efficient.

Some of the best and most interesting times in the life of a startup, although time consuming but really fun, is pitching for business which can take the form of getting in front of new potential customers but also in front of active VC and PE firms looking to invest in seeded funding.

So to that end make sure you have thought really carefully about your target audience and ensure you have a TAM (Total Addressable Market) of at least $20bn as VCs and Private Equity firms will be looking for 5×5 ratios which means 5% in a $20bn TAM would see their return on investment become $1bn which is the unicorn they all after and will make your proposition more appealing to them.

Your industries regulation is also a very important factor to think about. A prime example is FinTechs in the current climate of the royal commission where banks and financial institutions are getting heavy penalties levied against them and possibly not being trusted as much as they have in the past. I am not talking about what the current regulation is in your industry for 2018/2019 but what it could possibly look like for startups, FinTechs and online banks 5 or 10yrs from now. You do not want to be setting up a FinTech without thinking about this as there could be an equivalent Royal Commission of sorts for online banks and FinTechs 10yrs from now and I know this is tough to gauge but as a business startup director/owner you need to think about the possibilities of what this may look like and safe guard yourself and your business.

From a recruitment viewpoint, pre-Series A funding means you are probably like most, building an MVP (minimum viable product or Service) on a shoestring of a budget. It probably means too that you are just ensuring your website and portals are ready for external customers and clients to use and therefore hiring full stack web  developers. With Sydney and Melbourne now becoming the new silicon valley with companies like Atlassian, Campaign Monitor, Canva and many others getting in the Australian limelight on a global stage, sticking out is becoming more and more difficult. Sourcing the right candidates into your business will make a remarkable difference in the long run so use a recruitment firm who is flexible and not set in the traditional ways of how the recruitment industry works. You may not want to pay fees of any kind however we have witnessed how hiring the wrong talent at such an early stage can be detrimental in the long run to a startup.

Startups should look at as much media exposure as they can, VC and PE firms look at this closely when doing due diligence and using analytics tools to validate potential investment opportunities and are keen on companies with an already well placed media presence – check out

https://www.smartcompany.com.au/startupsmart/advice/pr-pro-how-to-get-media-coverage-startup/

We are always keen to hear from startups so if you looking for further information, need recruitment advice or looking for further market information, please give us a call. Till next time!

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