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Hedge funds ramp up demand

Hedge funds ramp up demand for IT staff as regulatory pressure mounts
Rates rise by 13% in six months
Some funds increasing IT headcount by 50% or more
Pay for IT staff working in hedge funds and asset managers has surged 13% in the last six months alone as they upgrade their systems post-credit crunch, says ReThink Recruitment (ReThink) the business and technology staffing company.
According to ReThink, software developers with experience in front office trading systems now command 700 per day on average, up from an average of around 620 per day at the start of the year.
ReThink says that one fund manager it works for aims to increase the size of its IT department by 75% from 20 to 35 by the end of the year.
According to ReThink, one of the key drivers of demand for IT skills in hedge funds and asset managers is the need to strengthen compliance and risk management systems in response to regulatory pressures.
The forthcoming Basel III rules and the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, for example, will both require greater transparency and disclosure from asset and hedge fund managers.
Fhamid Malik, Head of Financial Services, ReThink Recruitment, comments: A large number of funds are re-architecting their front office systems. Much of the impetus for this is regulatory pressure. They are upgrading reporting systems to enable better monitoring and tracking of complex transactions.
Funds are under intense regulatory scrutiny. There are numerous SEC and FSA investigations under way which, together with a slew of proposed financial market reforms, are heaping pressure on funds to beef up their risk and compliance processes. IT is critical to this.
He adds: Buy-backs, where an existing employer makes a counter-offer to stop a candidate leaving, are back to pre-credit crunch levels. For senior level IT roles, most will match the candidates offer and throw in an extra 10 to 15 per cent on top.
ReThink points out that hedge funds and fund managers are also upgrading their trading systems as business volumes rebound. 
Fhamid Malik says: Surging transaction volumes are fuelling demand for IT skills. Hedge funds and asset managers are locked in an arms race to create the fastest and most reliable trading systems. Many of these projects were canned during the recession, but are once more seen as key to competitive advantage.
According to ReThink, funds are increasingly demanding IT professionals with high level business knowledge, rather than pure technologists. Candidates with experience of risk management and compliance systems or front office trading platforms are in high demand. Favoured technical skills include C#, .Net and SQL.

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