Fund finance recruitment – the state of play in 2020

brickfieldBy brickfield11/27/20206 Minutes

The global picture in 2020

The healthy hiring market of 2020 in fact began in Q419, a time of year when law firms, banks, alternative lenders and asset managers start implementing increased headcount plans to help with future deal flow and enable growth. Brickfield assisted in many fund finance placements during this period in the USA, UK and Europe, while Asia was growing at a more cautious pace.

The impact of COVID-19 in March however changed the picture completely, when home working became compulsory and offices around the world emptied. Adaptation to this new world was swift, however, during this period of upheaval and extreme uncertainty, all of our clients that were in the final stages of a hire followed through.

As spring went into summer, new placements began slowing down compared to pre-COVID levels, but the USA in particular was still hiring. At this point there was still a considerable amount of concern expressed by clients about market conditions, the prospect of conducting video interviews and making hires without ever physically meeting the candidate. However, once the industry realized that remote working was potentially going to a be a long-term arrangement, acceptance was swift over the summer.

Another event of note was the withdrawal of several sub-line lenders from the market, which saw some aggressive lenders inundated with subscription facility requests. The hurdle for the fund finance teams here was to gain approval for desperately needed increased headcount, at a moment when their organizations as a whole were subject to hiring freezes.

During the summer we predicted to clients that the market would pick up in Q4, simply due to the fact that hiring is naturally slower in the summer months and COVID had a lesser effect on the fund finance market than many had been bracing themselves for.

We are now into Q4, and happily the anticipated uptick is here.


The fund finance market in the US is very much open for hiring, with weekly movement and growth in the market visible by the week. New York is still the central location physically, interest from Boston and the West Coast continues.

Among the active lenders there is currently a spike in demand for associates and analysts, portfolio managers and underwriters to help with the influx of business. This is the markedly different to the situation prior to COVID-19, when we were seeing an increase in senior level producers instead.

We anticipate that this demand will continue into the New Year. Law firms are also ramping up their hiring at all levels, including partnership, and for certain types of candidate, there is more demand in the market than supply. We anticipate that there will be more firms entering the fund finance market as it gains momentum and more industry recognition in the legal industry.

Europe and the UK

Hiring has been more cautious on the other side of the Atlantic. Europe’s banks had slowed hiring even before COVID-19, as they had already increased headcount with a hiring push in the first half of 2019. This year, lenders have been most concerned with the potential impacts of COVID-19 and Brexit, with many implementing hiring freezes.

Law firms, however, continue to look for fund finance talent at all levels in the UK. London, along with Luxembourg, has seen a lot of demand for associates of PQE2 to PQE4 experience.

Fund finance advisory is showing healthy signs of growth in the UK market, with new participants entering the market, including some of the Big Four accounting firms.

We understand that that Q121 will be the time they can start growing the team. We anticipate a lot of teams adding at least one member of staff.


We predict that Asia will come to the hiring table in mid-2021, with regional and international regional banks looking to aggressively grow next year having fund finance on their radar. The extent of this growth, however, will be dependent on COVID-19 outcomes next year and the global travel situation.

The outlook for 2021

With the level of lending that has continued during the pandemic and the slow response to headcount from banks and other organisations, we anticipate that 2021 will be a strong year of hiring and potentially might create a shortage of supply based on the current size of available talent.

To keep up to date with the fund finance recruitment market, follow Brickfield Recruitment on LinkedIn.