Money managers are returning to the office, said results of a new survey from investment management executive recruiting firms Odyssey Search Partners and JSB Partners.
Of the 92 investment management professionals surveyed June 4-15, 51% said they are still currently working remotely full time. However, only 2% of firms plan to allow their employees to continue to work remotely full time.
By Labor Day, no investment firms surveyed will encourage staff to work remotely.
Anthony Keizner, a managing partner at Odyssey Search Partners, said in a phone interview that although the stories in the news around investment management firms working remotely have centered around how productivity and performance has remained strong, “people are now headed back.”
“And that’s different from other industries, like the tech industry,” Mr. Keizner added. “The message is, ‘It’s been great, but we’re going back to the office.'”
Despite this, most firms don’t plan to return to the office full time come the fall. The survey results show that most firms (70%) will be asking their employees to return to work two to four days a week in the office in a hybrid model.
“While we’re going back, we’re not returning to where we were in February 2020,” Mr. Keizner said. “We recognize that the world has changed and we’re going to be more flexible the way we approach our return to the office.”
In terms of establishing a plan to return to the office, private equity firms have made the most progress among investment managers. Of the 58% of firms that have a plan, 70% of private equity have a plan, vs. only 46% of hedge funds.
The Odyssey executive explained that there are several reasons driving the desire within the asset management industry to return to the office.
“I think there is a sense that this business is best done face to face,” Mr. Keizner said, adding that there’s a desire by firm leaders “to get back to the office to see colleagues,” and “regain that sense of corporate identity.”
“If you’re not seeing colleagues, not in the space and only working in (say) Excel or PowerPoint, then it (the work) becomes quickly to the lowest common denominator,” he said. “It becomes easier for competitive firms to displace people, to hire them away.”
Article by: James Comtois