AllianceBernstein LP is on a hiring spree in a pre-emptive move to replace hundreds of technology and operations staff that the $555 billion money manager expects to lose as it moves its headquarters to Nashville from New York.
Among the 650 technology and operations staff based in its offices in New York City and White Plains, N.Y., the firm expects that only about 25% of staff in the department will decide to move to Nashville, according to Karl Sprules, head of global technology and operations. So far, AB has 170 technology and operations staff in Nashville, which consists of existing employees who have already relocated from New York and 100 new recruits hired in the past year since the firm announced it was moving its headquarters, he said.
"I think we will be close to 300 by year-end," Mr. Sprules said of additional hiring efforts.
Over time, the firm aims to eventually get back to current staff levels in New York, about 650, he said.
"There are quite a few people moving over the summer based on their families' availability to move," he added.
Globally, AB has about 2,000 employees in its technology and operations department.
The firm, which expects to complete all phases of its move by 2022, expects that a small number of staff on the technology and operations team will remain in New York to support investment and other teams staying in the city. But the majority of the technology and operations functions will be in Nashville once the move is complete, Mr. Sprules said.
In May 2018, AB announced it was relocating its corporate headquarters and moving about 1,050 jobs to Nashville, which would shift its executive team, finance, information technology, operations, legal, compliance, internal audit, human capital, and sales and marketing organizations. As of early June, AB had 1,461 people in its Manhattan office, where most of its New York staff is based, according to a company filing with the New York State Department of Labor.
The company's sell side, private client and investment teams will remain in New York and isn't affected by the move, a spokeswoman said.
All technology and operations staff were given the option to move to Nashville last year, at which point some staff volunteered to relocate, according to the spokeswoman.
Over the next two years, on a rolling basis, New York employees in the department will be given an official offer to move or their end date at the company if they choose to stay, she said, adding that staff moving to Nashville will receive a relocation package.
After speaking with consultants familiar with company relocations, leadership determined the firm would likely retain around 25% of its current technology and operations team, the spokeswoman said.
Job listings on AB's website currently show that the firm is looking to fill a number of IT roles — programmers, developers, business analysts and engineers.
Mr. Sprules said the bulk of new hires over the next couple of years will join AB at the associate level.
As AB restaffs its technology and operations department, it will also look to fill a new senior level role to help the firm implement automation across all of its operations — from portfolio management to accounting in fund administration and other areas, Mr. Sprules said.
"Over the years, we've found that processes that were most prone to failure were long-running processes or processes that crossed many different departments within the organization," he said.
Currently, Mr. Sprules has 15 people reporting to him directly responsible for the respective business processes and workflows within their technology and operations teams, but the firm is now "leaning more to (having) a centralized function."
"We've used (automation) more frequently as you get closer to the investment side of the business. I think that means there's a lot of low-hanging fruit across the broader business where we can use the same types of automation," he said.
The new senior hire would be tasked with making sure AB is "automating as many things as possible" across it business.