Context Jensen: Marketing Hires In Alternative Asset Industry Hit Record In Q1/17

May 3 2017 | 8:00pm ET

Alternative asset management firms hired a record number of fundraising and marketing professionals in the first quarter, according to new data from industry executive search company and corporate advisor Context Jensen.

A total of 251 fundraising and marketing professionals were hired during the period, Context Jensen said in an email to FINalternatives, eclipsing the previous high of 231 set in the third quarter of last year. Year-over-year, the number of marketing hires rose by 14.1% compared to the first quarter of 2016 and more than 122% over the comparable period in 2015. 

Hedge funds are driving the majority of the hiring activity, accounting for 42.6% of all marketing moves in the quarter, while Private Equity firms posted a record high with 71 new hires.

Other highlights from Context Jensen ‘s Q1 2017 newsletter:

  • Private Equity marketing hires slightly from 65 moves in Q1 2016 and up significantly from the 15 moves in Q1 2015, a sign that PE firms are closely following in the footsteps of hedge funds in institutionalizing their businesses.
  • With 31 marketing moves tracked in the first quarter, Multi-Asset Managers represent the third most active sector within the alternative asset management industry.
  • While US and UK-based marketing hires were down slightly quarter-over-quarter, the international market is picking up the slack with 34 moves in the quarter.

Private Equity Highlights:

  • Fundraising continued at near peak levels in the Private Equity space, with $89 billion raised in the quarter versus 71 new marketing hires. This is up significantly from 44 moves in Q4 2016 and a modest increase from the 65 moves tracked in Q1 2016.
  • Of note, fundraising remains strong for private credit and infrastructure strategies.
  • Many investors view the private markets and funds with longer lock-up periods as a potential safe haven following a tumultuous year for the public equity and fixed income markets.

Hedge Fund Highlights:

  • Hedge funds had another strong quarter of hiring, finishing with 107 marketing moves, the highest total we’ve tracked since Q4 2015 (138 moves).
  • Credit strategies continued to surge, finishing the quarter with 39 new hires, more than any other strategy.
  • Equity strategies took the biggest hit, with marketing moves plummeting by more than half compared to the same quarter last year. This was the least active quarter for equities since Q1 2015, when we recorded just 13 moves.
  • CTAs appear to be the most stable strategy quarter-to-quarter, with demand for marketing hires consistently in the low double-digits. Meanwhile, other strategies tend to be all over the map, with Global Macro and Fund of Funds in particular down significantly from last year.

“There is perhaps no better evidence that the industry has come of age than the number of senior professionals now working in a variety of distribution roles,” said Sasha Jensen, founder & CEO of Context Jensen Partners. “We view the record number of marketing moves to-date in 2017 not as an aberration, but as a sign that alternative asset managers are looking to build more specialized distribution platforms and bring on experienced business development professionals with the right relationships and industry expertise.”

Context Jensen’s quarterly newsletter quarterly newsletter provides data and insights on the current fundraising environment for alternative investment managers, including hedge funds, private equity firms, multi-asset managers, real estate managers and third-party marketing firms. 

The publication is based on the firm’s proprietary big data recruitment model to mapping out the distribution platforms for more than 400 alternative asset management firms. This includes more than 250 hedge funds, 100 private equity, real estate and infrastructure firms, and 50 large third-party marketing firms. Since January 2014, CJP has tracked approximately 2,900 moves across the alternative asset management industry.

Founded in 2011, New York-based Context Jensen Partners is an executive search firm exclusively dedicated to sourcing strategic capital raisers across the entire alternative asset management industry. The company joined forces with Context Capital Partners, an alternatives specialist with subsidiaries active in hedge funds, liquid alternatives mutual funds, private equity and industry events, in 2015. 

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