Nearly three-quarters (73%) of distribution heads surveyed predicted they would add to their headcount in the coming year, compared to just a third (33%) in 2020, although managers have become more “pragmatic” with their hiring in order to get budgets signed off.
This has led to a trend of redundancies in one region followed by redeployment in another, as managers reconsider the priority status of some countries.
Combined with travel restrictions, this has caused a shift from the “fly-in, fly-out” model of sales, with more firms focusing on building a local presence to maintain and build their client base.
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A focus on a diverse workforce will continue, with companies expanding the definition beyond gender and ethnicity, focusing on diversity of “thought, perspective, personality and approach”, according to the survey.
Sales teams will continue improving their alternative capabilities, with generalist teams bolstered by individuals with private markets experience, a trend reinforced by distribution heads predicting 2021 to be the year of alternatives.
Private equity and private debt are anticipated to be the most popular, with 26% of those surveyed citing the asset classes, while 13% also pointed to infrastructure and real estate as winners over the coming year.
In public equities, one in five heads (22%) expect demand for global equities to increase, with a particular focus on highly concentrated active strategies, thematic and value investing.