Firms with a strong corporate culture often share a commitment to being nimble and progressive as the asset management industry evolves as well as diverse and inclusive, and collaborative in nature — all factors that help employees feel like they can thrive and contribute to their organizations, industry sources said.
Of note, firms with healthy cultures typically have forward-looking senior management, who are not only anticipating market shifts and economic trends, but "how their firm will exist in the future," and how it will "maintain its competitive advantage, and be the right place to deliver desired outcomes to their clients," said Luba Nikulina, managing director and global head of research, investments, at investment consultant Willis Towers Watson PLC, London.
To this point, Jim Cooper, managing partner of executive search and management consulting firm Concentriq LLC in Wenham, Mass., said that the best places to work in the industry usually offer "clear visibility into an individual's professional growth potential," including paths to management-level roles.
Additionally, top talent wants insight on how the firm intends to grow, despite headwinds like fee pressures and compressed margins, Mr. Cooper said.
Among the 76 firms named on Pensions & Investments' 2019 Best Places to Work in Money Management list, on average, 87% of employees agreed in an annual benchmark survey that they had a good understanding of how their organization was doing financially.
When making a job move, candidates are also looking for firms with a management team that is engaged and willing to listen tonew investment and non-investment-related ideas, Mr. Cooper said.
He pointed out that candidates are, conversely, most unhappy or considering a potential role change at organizations "where they feel their ideas aren't being heard."
At alternative asset manager Blackstone Group Inc., New York, a major factor that has contributed to its strong sense of culture is its meritocracy, said Jonathan Gray, president and chief operating officer. This has, in turn, allowed many young people over the years to be able to move up in ranks in the company, himself included.
"Many of the senior leaders started here in their 20s as analysts. I myself started as a first-year analyst straight out of college," he added.
Blackstone ranked No. 1 in the super employer category (those with 1,000 or more U.S. employees) on the Best Places to Work list, which it has made six times.
"There is a well-worn path at Blackstone of young people who have come here and been able to ascend to roles in leadership," Mr. Gray said.