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Bristol Ebinger executive search
  • Writer's pictureBristol Ebinger

What is Talent Retention? And Why is it So Critical in Alternative Asset Management?


Business executive taking phone call on a balcony

In the competitive alternative asset management market, the real edge comes from more than great strategies or having a visionary leader. It lies in the human capital. Recruiting top talent is just the beginning — but the real game-changer? Retaining them.


Firms that excel in identifying, attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent often outpace competitors. Those who rely on surface-level data to make their hiring decisions (resumes, LinkedIn profiles, etc.) without vetting their candidates thoroughly will fall behind.


Taking a more detail-oriented, long-term, and strategic approach to talent acquisition and retention has many ripple effects. It not only strengthens a company's foundation but significantly influences its trajectory toward long-term success. More on that in just a bit.


Continue to uncover the weighty cost of turnover, how a company's reputation is intertwined with its retention strategies, and the undeniable influence of a positive work culture.


Check out our 10 Tips for Choosing The Right Executive Search Firm for Alternative Asset Management Recruiting here.


The Direct Link between Retention and Success


When you peel back the layers of any successful alternative asset management firm, you'll invariably find a foundation of dedicated professionals who feel valued and invested in the organization. This isn’t by accident. Successful retention is a concerted effort that melds together strategic hiring, a supportive work environment, professional growth opportunities, and a deep understanding of the motivations and aspirations of each individual.


In this sector so sensitive to external and sometimes uncontrollable conditions (where strategies evolve and markets fluctuate), the consistent thread weaving through successful firms is their ability to hold onto their best.


So, what is talent retention in the grand scheme of things? Talent retention isn't just about keeping employees from leaving — it's about fostering an environment where candidates you attract and hire continually choose to stay, evolve, and drive the company forward.


Let’s break down the tangibles and intangibles of retention-driven success:


The Cost of Turnover:


The financial burden of employee turnover isn't something to take lightly. Beyond the obvious costs of recruitment and onboarding, there are more hidden implications. Each time an experienced professional leaves, a gap emerges — both in skillset and team dynamics. This often cascades into project delays or increased errors due to a lack of historical knowledge. Even worse, your trusted and valued clients feel the gap and sense an inability for your firm to meet their needs.


On top of that, there’s the intangible (but real) dent in team morale. When key players exit, remaining team members often grapple with increased workloads and uncertainties. Burnout can quickly become a rampant problem throughout the organization, leading to additional turnover and hiring issues.


Productivity and Growth:


Consistency fuels productivity. With a stable team of experienced professionals, processes become streamlined, fewer errors occur, and institutional knowledge gets fortified over time. An often overlooked advantage is the mentorship seasoned professionals offer to newer hires. This symbiotic relationship upskills junior employees faster and instills a sense of belonging and purpose, further embedding them into the company’s mission.


Client Relationships and Trust:


The longevity of your team plays a pivotal role in building trust with your clients — and trust is everything.


Clients often build relationships over time with specific individuals within your organization, and whether it makes a difference (from your perspective) in the partnership's success or not, they’ll stick with you simply because that individual works at your firm. When clients consistently interact with the same faces, it fosters trust, solidifies rapport, and helps ensure smoother transactions. On the flip side, a revolving door can trigger client anxieties, leading them to question the stability and future direction of the firm.


Reputation in the Industry:


Your firm’s ability to retain top talent speaks volumes to current employees and prospective hires about who you are as an employer, partner, and competitor.


Firms notorious for high turnover rates often find themselves side-eyed in industry circles, making it challenging to attract the best of the best available (or maybe even passive) talent. On the other hand, those with a history or reputation of strong retention figure to boost their industry standing, remain competitive, and find themselves in an enviable position regarding talent acquisition.


Financial Performance:


Among many other benefits, higher employee retention rates to better financial outcomes. Makes sense, right? Consistency in teams often translates to consistent results.


Firms that manage to retain their top talent typically witness fewer disruptions, ensuring that both short-term objectives and long-term financial goals are met with regularity. The less you have to onboard new people and familiarize them with your company culture, the more time and resources you can spend developing the talent you already have.


The strength of a stable team is, without a doubt, one of the finance industry's most potent tools for sustained growth. But it all has to start somewhere.


Talent retention business meeting

Harnessing Executive Search for Stronger Talent Retention


Institutional finance and alternative asset management firms hinge on their people, but finding the right ones can be challenging without the right networks, resources, or know-how. Enter executive search firms. We focus on more than just filling a role — we aim to find candidates who align with a firm's values, goals, and culture. How?


In-depth Candidate Profiling: Traditional hiring often stops at reviewing resumes and noting skills. These days, the resume-scanning process may be AI-assisted to improve efficiency. But traditional hiring methods don’t cut it all on their own, even AI-powered ones. If you only lean on what a candidate says about themself on a resume or cover letter, you’ll miss out on critical cues about culture fit, growth potential, ability to execute, drive for success, and other intangibles.


That’s why we can help. An effective executive search considers a candidate's aspirations, desire to be a part of a team, interest in leadership development, customer-facing skills, and so much more. Our approach ensures the hiring of skilled individuals who are likely to stay and thrive, not just check boxes on your job description.


Leveraging Networks for Passive Talent: With over 25 years in the alternative asset management executive search business ourselves, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting thousands of finance professionals who are always interested in advancing or accelerating their careers. However, not all of these individuals are actively seeking new job opportunities while potential employers are hiring.


So, what’s the solution?


When a client approaches us with a need that can’t be filled by candidates available on the open market, our team reaches out to individuals from our deep-rooted and connected network who aren’t actively looking but might be a perfect fit. We act as the connector, vetting candidates on behalf of our clients to ensure minimal time is wasted on low-quality options. This often leads to hires who seamlessly fit into their organizations and want to stay longer.


Bespoke Hiring Strategies: Every firm is unique, plain and simple. To make a partnership worthwhile, executive search professionals like us must develop custom hiring plans based on your specific needs, ensuring more successful hires and better retention. A one-size-fits-all approach will never cut it when trying to secure the best executive talent available.


Ongoing Partnership: A partnership with an executive search firm doesn’t end once a hire is made. Transitions are involved, process reviews need to occur, and continued engagement helps ensure that both the new hire and the firm continue to align and grow together.


In alternative asset management, where decisions have a significant impact, partnering with an executive search firm ensures you're making choices that benefit your firm now and in the future. Your best asset remains the people who drive your success — invest in finding the right ones who will stick with you for the long haul.


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