Hedge funds and private-equity firms face tug-of-war over talent; ‘Alexa, what ETF should I buy?’

Dear readers,

Welcome to this week’s edition of Wall Street Insider. It was great to meet so many of our readers on Monday at our IGNITION: Transforming Finance event at the New York Stock Exchange. We had top tech leaders from firms such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Citi, BNY Mellon, and Barclays chat about a wide variety of topics, including the threat posed by Silicon Valley to big banks, how to deal with evolving customer expectations around digital, and the cultural challenge of driving innovation in huge organisations.

You can check out all of our coverage here, including exclusive stories and video. We’ll have more finance events in the future for Prime readers, so stay tuned. If you have any ideas for live events you’d like to see (or feedback from our Transforming Finance event), please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected]

We also had a big series that rolled out this week, which many of you hopefully have seen, focused on the future of big data on Wall Street.

Basically, there are massive amounts of “digital exhaust” being produced every day by everything from Instagram to Amazon. This information, if harnessed correctly using technology, can be incredibly valuable.

It’s creating a data gold rush, with companies expected to spend nearly $US190 billion globally this year on software and services to analyse any sort of information that could give them an edge over their competitors.

The finance industry – from hedge funds and asset managers to large banks – is at the forefront of this trend. You can read all of our stories here.

Please say hello to our new fellow Alex Nicoll who will be focusing his reporting on the wild world of real estate!

And good luck to all of our readers taking the CFA!


The booming private market has some hedge funds spreading into private equity’s domain. Now a tug-of-war has broken out over talent.

Hedge funds and private-equity firms are no longer staying in their lanes and increasingly jumping between public and private markets.

The convergence of hedge funds and private equity has led to a fight for talent as both sides try to pitch to prospective employees and investors that they are all-encompassing alternative-asset managers.

It comes as the starting pool for talent in finance continues to dwindle and Silicon Valley siphons Wall Street professionals away.


JPMorgan has cut nearly two-dozen people in a group responsible for preventing traders from making risky bets

JPMorgan Chase has let go of nearly two-dozen people in a group responsible for preventing the firm’s traders from taking too much risk – a team that grew significantly in the aftermath of the bank’s 2012 “London Whale” debacle.

More than 20 executive directors in the bank’s Model Risk Governance & Review Group were culled this month, according to people familiar with the matter. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the cuts extended to other levels of seniority, or whether more personnel changes in the division would follow.


‘Alexa, what ETF should I buy?’ Asset managers like BlackRock and Invesco are testing out voice assistants – but some are sounding the alarm on privacy concerns

With just a few spoken words, you can schedule doctors’ appointments on Alexa, order groceries on Google Home, and ask Siri for flight updates. Soon people will be able to interact just as easily with the companies that manage their investment and retirement accounts.

Big asset managers such as BlackRock, Invesco, State Street, T. Rowe Price, and JPMorgan are preparing to roll out tools on platforms like Alexa and Siri as soon as next year, top digital and marketing executives told Business Insider. They’re planning to start with simple search-related tasks for voice assistants, like asking Siri about account balances or answering specific market questions, such as how US futures are trading.

It’s unclear how much investors will use these programs, and some advisers are worried about privacy and encouraging short-term behaviour.


Merrill Lynch’s ‘thundering herd’ of advisers are winning over troves of new millionaires, and the growth is coming from a surprising place

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s wealth-management group has seen explosive client growth in the past year and a half.

Such growth had been tough to come by in recent years as the industry reckoned with a generational shift to passive investing.

Surprisingly, Merrill veterans with more than 30 years of experience were responsible for a significant share of the growth, matching the output of younger advisers who are far less established.


Meet the JPMorgan banker with no technical expertise who’s now in charge of one of the biggest data projects on Wall Street

As JPMorgan’s chief data officer, Rob Casper is involved in one of the largest data projects on Wall Street today.

His role, and the fact that it even exists, shows how important data is to Wall Street’s plans to hold on to customers and markets despite the generational upheaval being brought about by technology.


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