Hiring in the mutual fund industry is slowly but surely getting back on track if Ma Foi's recent report Hiring Trends in Mutual Fund industry in 2010 is to be believed. "The long-term growth outlook (in terms of assets under management) for the MF industry in general remains extremely positive because MF, as an asset class (as against bank fixed deposits, insurance, etc.), will continue to remain a compelling proposition," says Hastha Krishnan. CEO, Ma Foi Global Search Services. She, however, says that the assumption of growth is much lower than what it was three years back.
According to the report, over the last 12 months, recruitment across various sectors, including the MF industry, had come to a standstill as the global financial crisis hurt sales and dented order books, forcing companies to resort to cost-cutting measures. The MF industry was impacted as well and froze hirings post the meltdown. But that has changed in the last couple of quarters when equity markets revived.
Says Ashish Nigam, Head (Fixed Income), Religare Mutual Fund: "The growth of business has been good. Liquidity is going to stay and the businesses are expected to grow." With new regulations coming in, more and more funds will go the retail way and require fresh skill-sets. In fact, January has brought in a positive sentiment notwithstanding a 10 per cent fall in the equity markets in recent weeks. "There's a sharp increase in placements," says K. Pandia Rajan, MD, Ma Foi Group and Randstad India.
So, who is hiring? It's a mixed bag, it seems. "While some of the new players like Peerless are going ahead with their plans, some other players like Bharti, DLF, etc., are rethinking on their MF foray. These are typically firms whose core businesses were not financial services," says Krishnan. Other firms who have received inprinciple approval from markets regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in the recent past are adopting a wait-and-watch approach to scale up operations and hiring. Talent is being hired mostly at the retail and branch level.
Some MFs are planning to have their captive distribution arms from the next financial year and are planning to hire sales people. "Companies like DBS Cholamandalam, which has been taken over by L&T Finance, are also looking at inducting some fresh blood into its system," Krishnan says. The report points out that 2009 witnessed some major changes in the functioning of MF industry in India with SEBI bringing about new regulations, altering the manner in which fund houses and distributors sold MF schemes.
According to the report, the coming decade will see the emergence of advisory-based selling, which will be highly focussed on the individual investor's needs and a more efficient transaction process, resulting in the industry growing much more efficiently. The focus will shift from distribution-focussed selling to advicedriven selling. And acquisition of right talent will be the key growth driver for MF companies in a scenario like this, says the report.
WHO'S HIRING: Companies such as Peerless, SBI MF, Tata MF.
WHAT PROFILES ARE IN DEMAND: Talent is being hired mostly at the retail or branch level or in some cases functional head level.