By Hakan Enver, Operations Director of Morgan McKinley in London and Trefor Murphy, Managing Director of Morgan McKinley UAE
Despite the economic woes of recent years, the financial services sector is here to stay and for those professionals seeking fulfilling careers, there is no doubt that the world has become gradually smaller and consequently talent has become far more globally mobile. While London remains the number one global financial services centre, aside from the other traditional hubs of New York Frankfurt and Tokyo, there are now other successful financial centres offering a diverse range of roles.
According to City think-tank Z/Yen’s Global Financial Centres Index, Dubai is the most competitive financial centre in the Middle East and Africa region and, it has also been named as one of three emerging global contenders alongside Beijing and Moscow. Against a backdrop of global economic pressure, the UAE region continues to outperform most others and while the Eurozone crisis led to a more subdued recruitment drive last year, confidence during 2013 has been very much on an upward trajectory. And in London, there is increasing evidence that, while cost control and regulation remain a priority for the sector, there is now a real focus on growth – a trend reflected in the latest PWC Financial Services Survey. The survey also reveals that a third of financial services organisations admit that the availability of professional staff has re-emerged as a factor which could have a major impact on their ability to grow.
So what can the ambitious financial services professional expect from the job markets in Dubai and London?
Analysts in the UAE region are bullish about a return to growth for equity and debt capital markets with net profit on the DFM up 138% in the first half of 2013 compared to last year. The UAE will also benefit from an upgrade to ‘Emerging Markets’ status on the MSCI Index in May 2014 and with trading volumes increasing, Global Markets teams are preparing for growth. Most regional banks have maintained strong balance sheets and as they look to lend to increase market share, senior managers are recognising that investing in talent now is key. Banks competing for a share of the region’s growing wealth and investment industry also continue to grow, resulting in competition for experienced private bankers, wealth and investment managers. Additionally, regional banks and sovereign wealth funds are continuing to strengthen their teams to manage their growing portfolio of regional and global assets. In investment banking, an optimistic outlook in the Middle East combined with a slowing down in Europe has created an increased focus on deals in the MEA region. The areas of compliance and risk continue to grow driven by increased regulatory pressures and sanctions at both a global and local level. With increased pressure on internal controls and corporate governance, professionals with solid experience in these areas will continue to be in high demand. Dubai is also well placed to capitalise on the increasing global interest in Islamic Finance. Dubai was a pioneer in this area having created the Dubai Islamic Bank in 1975 and is one of the leading players in the region. At the beginning of 2013 Dubai announced its plan to become the leading Islamic Finance centre in the world, a place currently occupied by Kuala Lumpur and London.
In London there is heightened demand within the compliance arena, namely around AML (Anti Money Laundering) and Financial Crime. Consequently professionals who have had exposure to high risk entities (for example Sanctions and PEPS – Politically Exposed Persons) are particular sought after. There is also an increasing need for contractors within operational and financial change as we edge nearer to the deadline for EMIR implementation. Additionally, professionals with experience around Basel 3, AIMD and FATCA are seeing the opportunities available to them increase significantly. There is also demand within the internal audit space. Roles are now less generalist in nature and more specific to particular areas of a bank. Market Risk Auditors and Quant Auditors, for example, are currently in demand as are auditors who are more product specific. More and more business line candidates, with limited or no prior audit experience, are being considered for these types of vacancies.
And what of cultural differences and working life? Dubai is primarily an Islamic country and so there are laws around public alcohol consumption and the display of public affection is frowned upon. Having said that our experience is that having a common sense approach will leave you with no issues. There is a large expat population and Dubai is a melting pot of cultures, languages, social class, religions, experience and understandings and therefore the way things are done may be very different from what you are used to and sensitivity to cultural differences is important. The UAE is also tax free. This means that in the top earning bracket you can take home up to 50% more than you would at home. If you are coming to the stage of your life when saving is more important than spending, the Middle East could be an even more attractive proposition. Additionally, in the UAE, the average annual rainfall is 4.7 inches, on par with just one very wet weekend in London, so it could be your gateway to a sunnier disposition and an outdoor lifestyle.
For those preferring to stay closer to home and gain a hike in pay, while the available bonus pool has certainly reduced in recent years, professionals looking to move now without losing an accrued bonus do still have time. In fact most banks’ cut off will likely be October/November so those seeking a bonus as part of their package could still negotiate this on a pro rata basis. However, guaranteed packages can be few and far between. Instead we are seeing banks increasing their basic salaries, and our latest employment data for August 2013, shows that the average change in salary moving from one opportunity to another stood at 20%.
So whichever city you choose, one thing is clear – the future is certainly looking bright for professionals with solid financial services experience. Those seeking a new role in the next few months should be sure to partner with a reputable recruitment consultancy. Ensure that they are knowledgeable within their chosen field and that you test them on their market awareness. Once you are certain they know your market and what you are looking for, ensure your updated CV – equipped with your key achievements – is sent to them. Check that they are actively marketing you – not simply being reactive to jobs coming in. Keep in touch with them regularly – this will give you the opportunity to assess how well they are in fact selling your skills to potential employers.
What should I invest and How do I invest
By Imogen Clarke
With all the uncertainty that has arisen from 2020, with lockdown threatening businesses and the warning of a second wave, the topic of investments has taken on new meaning. Nowadays, more people are concerned with what makes for a good investment, or, if you’re a novice, how to best invest.
For instance, you might be unsure about the reliability of the company you’re looking to invest in, as well as the long-term prospects of your investment.
If you are unsure of your investments, then it is best to seek advice from financial experts like The Fry Group, who deal with tax, wealth and estate planning. They will see that you have a strong financial plan in place to help meet your objectives. They will develop a strategy that is built around your needs and asses any risks that could hinder your plans.
There are some things you’ll need to consider for your strategy; for instance, are you looking to make investments that are more of a risk and will take longer to come to fruition? Or, alternatively, are you wanting a faster approach that will result in a steady income? Whether or not you decide to play it safe all depends on your current financial situation and whether you have the means to take more of a risk. Do you have any other debts that take precedence over your future plans? Is your investment strategy realistic?
With the aid of a specialist – or investment manager – you can design an investment concept that works for you and your goals, and start to build a regular income from your investments. There are four main areas when it comes to assets (groups of investments) that you can consider:
Your investment manager will test the risks associated with your investment, and if it proves to be a positive investment choice, then you will be able to invest more over time.
So, how do you decide where to invest?
According to The Fry Group, ESG investing (Environmental, Social and Governance) is a good option for investors looking to support businesses that meet their similar ethics.
The main areas of ESG investing include:
- Environmental challenges (climate change, pollution, etc)
- Social issues (human rights, labour standards, child labour, etc)
- Governance considerations relating to company management
According to The Fry Group, “Many investors choose to consider ESG investing in order to ensure any investment decisions reflect personal beliefs and values. As a result, they choose to support companies who are making informed, responsible decisions which take into account their wider societal and global impact. In this way investors can achieve peace of mind that their investments are creating a positive effect.”
ESG investing is also more relevant now than ever, as more businesses are looking to present themselves as an environmentally conscious corporation that recognises the values of their consumers.
As The Fry Group puts it, “In the past, ESG investing has been seen as a niche investment approach, for a relatively small number of people with specific requirements. This has changed significantly in recent years, with a growing awareness of environmental issues such as climate change and an increasing understanding of social issues and human rights. As a result, many people are increasingly interested in reflecting their opinions and lifestyle choices through the way they invest.”
So, if you want your investments to pave the way for your personal values and reflect your own morals, then this is the route to go down. But how does it all work?
There are four areas of ESG investing:
- Responsible ownership and engagement: when companies are encouraged to make necessary improvements.
- Avoidance or negative screening: whereby businesses are ‘graded’ based on how ethical their business practices are and are avoided altogether if their methods are not approved.
- Positive screening strategies:when companies meet the ESG goals and are approved for investments.
- Impact investment strategies: the purpose of this is to use investment capital for positive social results such as renewable energy.
You will need to take into account your own personal objectives as well as the objectives that meet the ESG investment criteria. And, in terms of financial performance, ESG investing can be hugely beneficial. Those who opt for ESG investing perform a more in-depth analysis into long-term and future trends that affect industries, meaning that they are better prepared for changes in consumer values when they arise. And, with all the unpredictability that this year has offered us so far, isn’t it better to do the research and have all angles covered?
Investment Roundtable: Live with Jim Bianco
With Q4’s macro picture still looking grim amid the return of exponential coronavirus waves in Europe and the U.S. and Europe, we speak with veteran macroanalysis strategist Jim Bianco, CMT for a data-driven deep-dive into the global economy and financial markets on Sept. 7th at 12pm EDT.
- Learn from Jim’s unique combination of quantitative and qualitative analytics which provide an objective view on Rates, Currencies and Commodities to make smart investment decisions
- Identify important intermarket relationships he is watching with respect to Global Equities
- Roadmap a global outlook for 2021 in view of socio-political backdrop giving viewers key takeaways and intermarket perspectives on global investing.
Jim’s robust technical analysis includes a broad look at trends and themes in the markets, market internals, positioning such as the Commitment of Traders (COT), sentiment, and fund flows. Don’t miss out on this exclusive session from one of the investment world’s most insightful thought leaders.
Equity markets react to a rise in Covid-19 cases, uncertain Brexit talks and the upcoming US election
By Rupert Thompson, Chief Investment Officer at Kingswood
Equity markets had another choppy week, falling for most of it before recovering some of their losses on Friday and posting further gains this morning.
At their low point last week, global equities were down some 7% from their high in early September. US equities were down close to 10%, hurt by the large weighting to the tech giants which at least initially led the market decline.
The market correction is nothing out of the ordinary with 5-10% declines surprisingly common. Indeed, a set-back was arguably overdue given the size and speed of the market rebound from the low in March. As to the cause for the latest weakness, it is all too obvious – namely the second wave of infections being seen across the UK and much of Europe and the local lockdowns being imposed as a result.
These will inevitably take their toll on the economic recovery which was always set to slow significantly following an initial strong bounce. Indeed, business confidence fell back in September both here and in Europe with the declines led by the consumer-facing service sector. A further drop looks inevitable in October – fuelled no doubt in the UK by the prospect that the latest restrictions could be in place for as long as six months.
The job support package announced by Rishi Sunak did little to boost confidence. Its aim is to limit the surge in unemployment triggered by the end of the furlough scheme in October. However, the scheme is much less generous than the one it replaces as the government doesn’t want to continue subsidising jobs which are no longer viable longer term. A rise in the unemployment rate to 8% or so later this year still looks quite likely.
Aside from Covid, for the UK at least, there is of course another major source of uncertainty – namely Brexit. Another round of trade talks start this week and we are rapidly reaching crunch time with a deal needing to be largely finalised by the end of October.
Whether we end up with one or not is still far from clear. That said, the prospects for a deal maybe look rather better than they did a couple of weeks ago when the Government was busy tearing up parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. With significant Covid restrictions quite probably still in place in the new year and the Government already under attack for incompetence, it may not wish to take the flack for inflicting yet more chaos onto the economy.
Markets remain unimpressed. UK equities underperformed their global counterparts by a further 2.7% last week, bringing the cumulative underperformance to an impressive 24% so far this year. The UK weighting in the global equity index has now shrunk to all of 4.0%.
It is not only the UK which faces a few weeks of uncertainty. The US elections are on 3 November. We also have the first of three Presidential debates this Tuesday. Joe Biden’s lead looks far from unassailable, a close result could be contentious and control of Congress is also up for grabs.
All said and done, equity markets look set for a choppy few weeks. Further out, however, we remain more positive – not least because the focus should hopefully switch from the roll-out of new lockdowns to the roll-out of a vaccine.
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