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12 February 2018

Financial Times: UK fund manager pay suppressed by Brexit uncertainty

Pay for UK asset management employees flatlined last year in a sign of how uncertainty around Brexit has left fund houses reluctant to boost salaries, even while investment professionals globally received bumper rises.

Marcus Williams, asset management specialist at Morgan McKinley, the recruitment company, suggested that the uncertainty around Brexit had hit asset management salaries, with fund houses attempting to keep tight control on their cost base until it becomes clearer what impact the UK leaving the EU will have on their profit margins.

“There is the uncertainty around Brexit, and people have started to offshore some functions to different European countries. They are asking, ‘should we keep our highest paid individuals in the UK or relocate them elsewhere?’” he said.

Tim Wright, a partner at PwC, the consultancy, said pay for asset management staff globally rose on the back of a good year for the industry.

“Markets performed very strongly and many [asset management companies] delivered excellent investment returns for their clients. In addition a large number of firms increased the level of assets managed [by] attracting new flows,” he said.

“As a result many fund managers and sales professionals will have been deemed to have performed strongly resulting in increased incentive payments.”

Jonathan Doolan, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Casey Quirk, the asset management consultancy, agreed that the global growth in salaries was linked to a “better than excepted year for asset managers”.

Alice Leguay, co-founder of Emolument, said asset managers globally were being forced to increase pay to attract and retain staff.

“The financial sector at large is facing stiff competition for talent from technology giants,” she said.

“While banks and asset managers are putting in place medium to long term plans to try to provide an attractive culture, they are trying to bridge the gap with higher pay packages, hence the recent hike in pay in the asset management industry since 2016.”

Full article on Financial Times (subscription required)

© Financial Times

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