Fund Accounting: The Place to Be Right Now
I’m going to kick off this blog with an interesting statistic. Did you know that if you were to invite every employee in Ireland that is currently working in fund accounting and administration to the 3 Arena you wouldn’t fit everyone inside?
In Ireland, there are an estimated 15,000 people employed in fund administration and approximately 45-50% are fund accountants. In recent times, we have seen strong demand again in the market for fund accountants. The collapse in the financial markets before this had seen the introduction of redundancy programmes, the ceasing of graduate recruitment drives and fund accountants moving abroad to find work. With the upturn in the sector we are continuing to see a demand in the market again for experienced fund accounting candidates. I am not sure it’s fair to say we have a shortage of fund accountants in the market as of yet, but in my opinion it’s definitely a candidate’s market again. 2015 and 2016 have seen a definite increase in the volume of roles coming into the market from entry level all the way up to senior manager roles. Rather than needing to leave their existing employer to receive salary increases, candidates are now receiving counter offers from their current employers, which is pushing up salaries across the board. Employees are now happy to wait it out for internal promotion opportunities and for those ready to move many are receiving offers straight after first round interviews and can be off the market within a couple of weeks of beginning their job search.
Prior to my current role as a Financial Services Recruitment Manager, I worked in Fund Accounting myself with State Street, both here in Ireland and Poland, as well as working with BNY Mellon in Dublin, and in my opinion it’s a very attractive career to be in right now.
Explaining the myth of Fund Accounting
When I secured my entry level role with State Street as a Fund Accountant I remember my Dad saying “A Fund Accountant…what’s that now?”…and I must admit I did struggle to explain it to him! For years afterwards when friends & relations would ask me the same question I would see a glaze coming over their eyes a few seconds into my job description. Their acknowledgment would be a polite nod and ask “so you enjoy that then?”. I can honestly say I did. Like most jobs, there were good and bad days. There will be days of hushed silence in the team as whispers of an error abound. There will also be annoyed clients to appease as a KPI is missed but usually there are days of great comradery, working with like-minded colleagues. Entering into the world of fund accounting will be challenging and interesting and give you an insight into Financial Services and the key skills required to succeed in a business environment.
So what is a fund accountant? Or what is fund accounting?
Fund Accounting is the process of accounting for a portfolio of investments such as securities, commodities and/or real estate held in an investment fund such as a mutual fund or hedge fund.
Fund Accountants are primarily responsible for all aspects of day-to-day accounting for a group of assigned funds including, calculating/reporting the daily NAV (Net Asset Value) per unit. Fund Accountants work in a fast-paced environment and need to be able to work under pressure and meet strict deadlines.
Is it for me?
Are you detail-oriented? Do you have a basic understanding of the investment market and accounting? Do you thrive working in a fast-paced environment and are able to meet strict deadlines? Do you enjoy working in a team environment? If the answer to all of these questions is ‘Yes’ then fund accounting could definitely be the role for you! Teamwork and collaboration to support all team members particularly during busy month-end periods will be necessary.
For many people, a career that gives an opportunity of seeing the world can be a very attractive prospect. Fund accounting experience is absolutely transferable internationally. Australia, Canada, London, Hong Kong and more recently Poland, all have buyout financial services sectors where fund accounting is an internationally recognised discipline. I was lucky enough to spend 5 years in Poland and have many friends and colleagues who took up opportunities in far flung places like Hangzhou, Sydney, London, Zurich, Milan and Hong Kong and they all had that fund accounting stamp on their career passport to get them there.
A Bridging Gap to Other Opportunities
There can come a point for people when they become disillusioned with the NAV process if I am to be honest. It can be too heavy on routine for some people but many people in fund accounting never seem to reach that point. But your experience and skills gained will open opportunities in Transfer Agency, Trustee, Custody, Pricing, AML and Compliance. The experience could also be transferable in a client relationship role within financial services.
Staying the course in Fund Accounting can certainly be lucrative from both a salary and career building perspective. There will of course be variances regionally as well as based on experience, but graduates can expect a starting salary of approximately €25k moving up to €45k-60k when reaching supervisor level. For those that stick the course the average salary of a Senior Manager or VP is in the region of €80k – €100k. Head of positions can command up to €150k.
With an increase in demand within the sector, the potential for travel, career progression and a potentially lucrative salary, there is no doubt that fund accounting is a very attractive career proposition.
If this is an area you would like to get into, please don’t hesitate to give Gillian a call on 051 353825 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and you can discuss your options.
Gillian joined Matrix Recruitment Group in 2015 having spent over 15 years in a number of financial services roles for companies such as BNY Mellon, State Street and Bank of Ireland. She holds a Degree in Business Studies, a Diploma in Financial Services and a Certificate in Financial Services, Banking and Financial Support Services.
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