Looking back on 2010, the general trend witnessed across advisory services was one of an unpredictable market. The pressures of a global downturn, a General Election and bad weather inevitably meant that businesses moved cautiously; 2010 was most definitely a year of peaks and troughs.
Towards the end of 2010, and certainly within the first quarter of 2011, confidence in the market has improved. There has been increased activity within corporate recovery, insolvency, forensic accounting and corporate finance. A fresh excitement seems to have entered the market and this has had a huge impact on recruitment.
Forensic clients are definitely feeling optimistic about this year, although 2010 was a reasonable year within the London Forensic world. There were, of course, points in the year when activity was concentrated on pitching for new work and initial investigations, but the decision to litigate was being held back. This was coupled with the fact that a number of government agencies were holding back work until the new fiscal year. Although this would have ordinarily caused caution, it was balanced by the fact that financial services work increased.
Moving into 2011, we continue to see clients recruiting for increased FS and Fraud work. There seems to be an appetite for AML, FS and Fraud experts alongside the usual Forensic, Valuations and Investigations applicants. Clients have reported that there is a lot more litigation work happening. A good sign that the market is becoming busier is that some clients have been proactively recruiting recently qualified auditors to train within Forensic Accounting.
The Insolvency and Restructuring world saw peaks of activity. There was a marked increase within the restructuring world; some teams were working to full capacity last year. Towards the second half of the year there seemed to be a lot of lender led, Business Review and restructuring work. This has of course meant we have seen an increased need for experienced restructuring candidates.
Clients have recently been recruiting at all levels; from newly qualified to director level. The insolvency world had some very busy periods in London but there seems to be a lot less trading administration work. November and December were quieter than usual.
The first quarter of 2011 indicates that the insolvency world is picking up. A number of firms have been busy in investigations and formal insolvency. It is felt that with the Tax Year end and the quieter-than-expected Christmas results in the retail market, the formal insolvency world will be busier this year.
All indicators suggest that clients are preparing for a busy 2011 – we have already seen firms recruiting across the board.
Shaila Verma is an Executive Consultant within the Marks Sattin Practice Division, specialising in Qualified Corporate Advisory Recruitment. She has successfully recruited for senior appointments both in C&I and Public Practice and has over 10 years’ financial recruitment experience.