Having worked in investment and portfolio management for over 20 years, looking after high net worth clients for well-known companies like Bank of Scotland and Investec, Grant brings a wealth of experience to recruitment. A member and chartered fellow of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI), he holds a number of key industry qualifications (some of which are mentioned below).
We managed to prize him away from CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ morning TV programme, which he follows avidly every day to keep up with all the latest financial markets news, to discuss the current hiring situation for investment jobs in Scotland as well as all the key trends, qualifications and broader skills needed to succeed in the fast changing world of investment.
As we near the end of 2022, analyse the investment recruitment market in Scotland.
GJ: I would say that it’s a really tight market at the moment. There isn’t a lot of movement. The economy a pending recession has spooked investors, so firms have been positioning their portfolios accordingly to ensure they have the right balance between defensive and growth stocks. There has been a lot of consolidation in Scotland with small, boutique firms being snapped up by the major players. That said, there are investment management jobs on the market with firms typically looking for people with an established client base that they can bring to their new employers. There are roles in operations and admin so there is still plenty of demand for specialists in this candidate-led market. And this of course is reflected in higher salaries.
Qualifications are so important in the industry. Which are the key ones to possess?
GJ: It’s such a heavily regulated industry that qualifications and experience go hand in hand. They are essential and you will need them to get hired. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is very strict on firms from a risk perspective and want to ensure that clients are protected and safeguarded. This is why qualifications, experience and market knowledge are so critical. You have the CISI’s Private Client Investment Advice & Management (PCIAM) certificate (level 6 or 7), which is the one you want for managing money in the UK. Then you’ve got the CFA UK’s Investment Management Certificate (IMC), which is global so you can sell yourself anywhere in the world.
Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) is a huge area of demand right now…
GJ: COP27 has just taken place (11-18 November, Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt) so it’s a very topical subject. Shareholders want to see evidence that firms are acting responsibly, which has fuelled demand for ESG specialists within investment management. The CFA has a course/certificate in ESG Investing so that investment professionals can increase their knowledge of the subject. There are a lot of rules around stewardship code and principles for responsible investment (PRI) so it’s difficult to explain and measure. And with accusations of greenwashing, it’s a very delicate subject for the big firms, some of whom have been hit with fines. ESG will continue to be a big priority for companies.
Soft skills such as building relationships are also key, aren’t they?
GJ: Having spent 20 years in the investment world with various organisations, I’ve been very
fortunate to work alongside different teams such as admin and operations, which has enabled me to gain an incredible amount of knowledge and insight into the management of money and stocks, as well as a deep understanding of company accounts and financials. But none of this would have been possible without talk to and connecting with such a diverse spread of people, whether it be investment directors, fund managers, equity analysts, company executives etc. In the investment and portfolio management industry, you’ve got to be able to talk to people and listen attentively, you need to be personable, approachable, easy to get on with. Relationship building is fundamental as you need to relate to everybody and communicate effectively, simplifying what can often be a very technical and complex subject matter.
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”
– Warren Buffett
What advice would you give to candidates looking for their next role?
GJ: I would say that if you’re not happy in your current job as an investment manager or director, then it’s time to move! Times are tough but there are excellent opportunities out there waiting to be snapped up. And with skill shortages so prevalent, it’s still a great time to be a jobseeker.
The same question but this time for hiring managers…
GJ: I can’t stress the importance of making the right hire. If you do decide to partner with a specialist investment recruiter, make sure they really understand the investment world. Prior industry experience means that they will have first-hand knowledge of your challenges as well as having a deep understanding of the skills and the cultural fit required. Knowledge and experience of the investment industry makes such a big difference and will prevent you making the wrong hiring decision, which of course can be so costly.
And finally, what’s the biggest risk you’ve taken?
GJ: That would be upping sticks and moving to Dubai in 2017. It was a brave move, scary at times, you’re away from your family and friends but you learn to adapt. It was a fantastic experience which I would highly recommend to anyone. It was a brilliant learning curve. It also ties in with the advice for candidates – stepping out of your comfort zone can bring untold rewards.
Looking for your next investment hire or investment management job in Scotland?
If you want to learn about the latest talent insights or discuss your career options, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can reach Grant on 07555769792 or email email@example.com