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An alternative Christmas message

In recent years there has been a substantial rise in the number of alternative Christmas messages. Never being one to miss an opportunity to have my say I felt it high time that ours was out there too, although I will definitely be trying to side-step the controversy of ones that have appeared on Channel 4.

This is not only our chance to take a look back on the past 12 months but also to look forward with renewed hope as to what 2009 might bring.

Suffice to say that 2008 won’t go down as a vintage year for many of us. I was working within stockbroking the last time the equity markets were at such lows explaining to clients the benefits of investing for the long-term, pointing to historical indicators and urging them not to lose their nerve. Fast forward five years and here we are again, although this time the values of our properties are falling, repossessions are up and that unwelcome visitor, recession, has made an untimely appearance in most major economies. We can’t even keep cash in the bank without worrying about whether it will be there in the morning.

Who would have though at the start of the year that some of the best known financial institutions, some of the behemoths of the industry, would be standing on the abyss? Some were swallowed up by rivals; some were snatched back from the brink by huge government bailouts as free market principles were abandoned in the interests of staving off calamity; some fell never to be seen again.

Throughout this doom and gloom we all frantically tried to find some positives, and mostly failed.

Another ‘Annus Horriblis’ indeed.

However after doffing one’s hat to the Queen, let us turn to the philosophers. As Nietzsche would say “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”, as apt now as it was in the 19th century. Redundancies have been at play but within the IFA industry at nowhere near the levels of other markets, certainly not within the fee earning community at least. Companies do still recruit; good organisations learn and develop whilst the changing face of financial services may end up benefiting the IFA industry at the expense of the banks, despite the difficulties faced in the interim.

This is particularly relevant to those many individuals who are currently seeking a new position. Largely this is due to worries about where future income streams are going to come from with business levels for some heavily impacted this year, especially those with a high exposure to the mortgage arena. However people still move home, they get made redundant, their firms relocate. Just because the stock markets have fallen it doesn’t mean that life does not go on as before.

True, the amount of opportunities out there is lower than it has been for a number of years and to some extent candidates have to be in the right place at the right time. However there are positions available at stable, growing and ambitious firms, be they small or large, throughout the country and such a scenario has generally always been the case.

Given this, working with the right recruitment partner has never been as important as it is now to companies and candidates alike. To negotiate your way through the recruitment maze with, quite naturally, doubt at the back of your mind about the timing of it all, you need to be in partnership with individuals who understand the industry and your specific requirements.

Therefore Exchange Street looks forward to working with you all during this troubling and unsettling period, when the light at the end of the tunnel seems quite distant. We have developed and will continue to develop an extensive array of clients across the country and will continue to proactively work on your behalf to find the right opportunity.

We would like to wish you a Merry Christmas, and a much more prosperous New Year.

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