Elevating Employees in Asset Management

By Michael C. Patanella & Margaret Belden, Grant Thornton

Career paths can help firms satisfy their people

The performance of the stock market over the past 18 months has made this a difficult time to be an asset management employee. These individuals count heavily on strong returns to deliver a big bonus that can make up the majority of their compensation.

“In a challenging year, bonuses are typically lowered based on the asset managers’ overall economics, and in some cases the exceptional employees will receive non-cash compensation such as phantom equity,” said Michael Patanella, Grant Thornton LLP’s National Managing Partner for Asset Management.

The concept of a challenging year is reflected in the asset management-specific results of Grant Thornton’s 2023 State of Work in America Survey. Despite the limited number of asset management respondents to the survey, the prevailing trends portrayed in this workforce’s engagement and well-being responses highlight areas for improvement to enhance employee satisfaction.

Asset management employees ranked at least 10 percentage points behind the overall employee group in:

  • Feeling their organization fosters a culture of well-being.
  • Confidence that the organization would take action on an issue affecting their well-being or safety.
  • Confidence that they will work for the same organization in a year.

The numbers demonstrate workforce trends that can be improved — if leadership takes the right approach. By providing clearly documented career paths, using technology to lessen the workload and improving diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), asset management firm leaders can satisfy many of their employees’ needs.