Salary Survey: Traders Find Jobs in Risk Management

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Byline: Sarah Butcher

Risk managers used to belong firmly in the back and middle office. Not any more. Risk management is increasingly a front office occupation and in niche areas people with the necessary skills are in short supply.Among the jobs currently advertised, UBS Warburg is looking for a quantitative risk manager with a strong mathematical and analytical background.

The headhunter TMP Worldwide is recruiting for a number of credit risk positions, including a credit risk associate, as well as a general risk manager and a business risk manager to work in fixed income.

Positions in risk management fall broadly into three camps: credit risk, or the risk that a bond issuer will default; market risk, or the risk of plummeting markets; and operational risk, or the risk of organisational dysfunction, which covers human error, communications breakdown or poor compliance.

Credit risk experts are particularly sought after. Regulations such as the Basel II banking proposals and changes to accounting standards under IAS 39, as well the credit derivatives boom, have fuelled demand.

Stephen Ferguson, a consultant at TMP, said hiring for credit risk was buoyant compared to other market areas. Alec McCann, a consultant at Robert Walters, said 70% of risk vacancies were for credit risk professionals.

In credit risk, recruiters say potential exposure analysts and portfolio management analysts are particularly scarce. Potential exposure analysts are concerned with traded credit risk and the possibility of credit default given movement in the market. Portfolio management analysts consider aggregated risk across the entire portfolio.

In a report on the risk management market, the headhunter Elliott Ross said hiring for portfolio management experts was being held back by the "very small pool of experience from which to select."

Tom Mardon, manager of the risk division at recruiter Michael Page, confirmed the need for experienced portfolio managers. He said several clients had had unfilled vacancies for more than eight months. …