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Autumn Newsletter

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Huge Financial Services Growth Expected in 2022

Paul Harper, Managing Director

We've had a very busy summer, and as we move into autumn, most of our clients seem firmly focused on getting the right team members in place for next year. When the market feels optimistic, planning starts early, and that's certainly where we are at the moment.

We're seeing very high demand for financial services staff at all levels. At the highest level, there's clearly been a lot of focus on Director level appointments. With so many new players entering the market, and so many existing players getting extra funding to grow, the need for Directors who fully understand the Wealth and Financial Planning market seems to be at an all time high.

Over the past 18 months, we've extended our expertise. While we're probably most associated with securing Sales Directors, Wealth Managers, and Financial Planners, the past few months have seen us completing CFO, Compliance Director, and Operation Director assignments, as our clients recognise our specialist sector doesn't just need functional knowledge, but also specific sector knowledge if a company is to achieve its growth plans.

With so many Financial Services businesses seeking growth, it's not surprising that we're completing more assignments than ever before, and we're busier than ever.

You might be aware that we launched Financial Planner Plus at the end of 2019, and our Handpicked service, an affordable search solution for senior Financial Services professional at the start of 2021. We've had tremendous level of interest in this as people realise they can no longer leave this type of senior specialist recruitment to chance.

Also, at the start of 2021, we added IT recruitment to our specialisms, something else which has been well received by our clients.

Finally, on the M&A scene, we've never been busier. If you're thinking the time has come to sell your business, please get in touch.


Lessons we can learn from History
John Biggs, Chair

Those of you old enough to remember might be thinking that fuel shortages and inflation were a nightmare in the 1970’s and the current scenario looks very familiar. Things were made worse in the 70’s by militant trade unions, which seems less of a threat now but we have a pandemic to contend with. So what can we learn from history and the current potential effect on the Financial Services industry in the UK?
Well we all recognise that the landscape is changing rapidly in Financial Services and with potential threats to the status quo from Amazon and Co, no doubt it will change substantially in the next decade. Challenger companies with no legacy to wrestle with will have smaller numbers of talented staff and aim for greater revenues than traditional businesses and some will succeed.
So with all this going on, the way to give your business the very best chance of success over the next decade is to select from the very best. Make sure your shortlist for any senior role contains talent that really excites you – perhaps we can help ?
Let’s create history together.




Consolidation and Strategic Reviews Fuel Change

Charles Evans

Asset Management 

Consolidation activity, where Asset Managers are acquiring competitors businesses or books of AUM (with a recent market example being the acquisition by Tatton of Verbatim from Fintel) is, and perhaps not surprisingly, driving the need for specialist resource to manage Integration programmes; and post this, additional capacity and bandwidth to manage the Customer Services and Client Engagement requirements of an increased customer base.
Intermediated Distribution & Business Development 

A plethora of strategic reviews and consolidation through company M&A is resulting in a couple of significant changes (and opportunities) in the market place. Firstly, some firms are looking to reshape their field sales teams and, either, reducing the headcount and / or further shifting the balance between F2F and remote sales roles. Secondly, this activity is resulting in an increased degree of nervousness amongst field based sales staff and motivating them to consider finding a new home. It is a great time to attract top sales talent, but the reward & remuneration levels are increasing as firms look to retain their top performers.


Field Based Sales Roles on the Rise
Alison French

After the 18 months we have all suffered through, and the resulting home-working requirements as a result of the pandemic, it was easy to conclude that this could lead to the demise of the field-based Intermediary Sales BDM role in the future.

This has, however, not been the case in 2021, and the market has become increasingly buoyant in this space. We are hearing from our clients that their sales teams have started to visit their clients again, although the choice of face to face or remote contact is now left to the client in many circumstances.

As 2021 unfolded, roles placed on hold in 2019/2020 and plans to expand sales teams were re-visited and it has become a progressively more active market as the year has progressed. After many difficult months, it is great to hear Intermediary Sales professionals feeling upbeat about getting out on the road again!


Demand for Financial Planners at an all time high

Tim Terrell

From March 2020, almost all companies that operated within financial advice had a period of hiatus where they stopped hiring. The smaller companies actually laid a few people off, whilst the larger companies took longer to do this. When restrictions were eased, we found that the general consensus amongst most hiring managers was that they had lost a lot of time and in some cases companies had to borrow to ensure they could continue ticking along.

Small to medium companies started hiring back in January and it really picked up in April 2021; by June / July it was even busier.

The reason that the small-medium companies have reacted much quicker is because they are more adaptable and nimbler in the face of change. That is not to suggest that it was easy for them to navigate the difficulties of the pandemic, but they often did not need to enforce official recruitment freezes and therefore could begin planning to recruit again as soon as they felt ready to do so. The larger companies, of which some have only just begun to recruit again in Q3, naturally follow a much more rigorous and slower process before formally lifting a recruitment freeze meaning that they have taken longer to begin recruiting again – although the vast majority are doing so and playing a catch up.

The pandemic has also led to a digital shift in how advice is administered, which is proving to allow a more cost-effective alternative to full financial planning and open the sector for a broader range of clients. Whilst it was not necessarily a direct response to the pandemic, Vanguard launched its tech-led, low-fee financial advice service earlier in the year, and we have seen several national and regional players follow suit.

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Mergers & Acquisitions

PE firms injected millions into the UK financial advice sector in recent months as solid fundamentals and the opportunity for consolidation attract growth-focused buyers in particular. It seems many of the acquirers in this area are looking to follow a “buy-and-build strategy”. As a result, we are seeing a lot more vacancies for Financial Planners with acquisitive firms that are seeking a successor for a retiring IFA who’s client bank they have purchased. We are also seeing more senior opportunities within consolidators as they look to build an infrastructure in a bid to become a leading Financial Planning business.



Paul meeting with the Paul Harper Mergers & Acquisitions team at a recent social event



Meet Louis, our Researcher

We are delighted to introduce Louis O'Regan, our Researcher.

Louis supports our Consultants to source and attract quality candidates across the Financial Services Industry and has had great involvement within our mergers & acquisitions research team.
Louis started working with us in August and has shown great understanding of the market and willingness to learn despite the difficult learning environment.

Louis is a real asset to the team and shortly will be starting to work towards his REC Level 2 Certificate in Recruitment Resourcing.
01761 252 536 

Paul Harper Search has an enviable reputation for providing outstanding candidates to our financial services clients for roles across the UK. Our extensive background knowledge of the financial services sector ensures our clients can rely on us to identify and target the best people for them. From outstanding individuals at Director and Senior Manager level through to whole teams of specialist staff, Paul Harper Search has the experience and knowledge to identify and contact such people.