Faced with the weight of fee pressures and industry consolidation, many money managers are quietly cutting staff, either in a pre-emptive attempt to buckle down against headwinds and shift their business focus or more urgent cuts out of necessity, sources said.
"Every single firm is taking a look at costs and strategy," said Michael Fitzgerald, a Boston-based managing director within the asset management practice at RSR Partners, an executive search and leadership consulting firm.
"Some firms are doing it from a position of strength where they know the business is changing and (are) looking at how (to) get ahead of this and structure (themselves). The other firms are doing it out of necessity, whether from pressure on flows, AUM or increased volatility that may have exposed managers living on the effects of market appreciation. They've had to make decisions that are maybe a little more drastic," Mr. Fitzgerald continued in a telephone interview.
When job cuts are occurring, they are "much more tactical or strategic, even surgical, where (managers) are merging certain distribution channels and investment teams as well as (sales) teams," he added later.
In 2018, several managers put dozens, in some cases hundreds, of jobs on the chopping block.
In August, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, New York, said it was laying off about 100 people, representative of 1% to 2% of staff in the J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. division.
The cuts came despite the fact the asset management unit reported $1.8 billion in revenue in the second quarter, up 2% year-over-year. Assets under management in the unit were $2.028 trillion as of June 30, an 8% increase from the year prior, according to J.P. Morgan Chase's quarterly earnings statement. JPMAM managed $2.077 trillion as of Sept. 30.