A People-first Approach: One Ten Associates Founder Mush Ali Discusses the Key to Success in Alternative Investment Recruitment

18th April 2023

We are delighted to present the next edition of our Top 100 Most Influential interview series, featuring an exclusive conversation with Mush Ali, Founder of One Ten Associates. With over a decade of experience in the alternative investment industry, Mush has become a highly respected professional recruiter, specializing in senior middle and back office hires as well as senior sales, marketing, and business development roles for hedge funds, private markets, VC's, and family offices.

In this insightful interview, Mush shares his unique perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in the recruitment landscape, his dedication to building long-lasting relationships with both clients and candidates, and his hands-on expertise in providing tailored recruitment solutions for start-ups and established firms alike. As we continue to explore the key players and thought leaders shaping the alternative investment industry, we hope this conversation offers valuable insights and a deeper understanding of the evolving market dynamics.

How does your company differentiate itself from other managed service providers in the alternative investment sector?

Our three core values, being connected, trustworthy, and experienced, truly set us apart. When I founded the business, I prioritised building a team of experts who genuinely understood the marketplace. Our sector-specific approach gives us a comprehensive view of the funds industry, which we leverage to support our clients in navigating the various nuances that could impact their businesses. Our strong network, including 60,000 combined LinkedIn connections, reassures potential clients that they're tapping into a well-developed and nurtured candidate pool. We've worked hard to ensure that in each of our specialisms, we are focused on our candidates and know exactly who is looking to move and what they are looking for.

Can you discuss a time when you had to take a risk to achieve a goal for your company?

There are always elements of risk in business, both personal and professional. I try to be considered and seek advice and guidance when I feel it can add value to my decision making. For me, the key is relationships. I don’t find myself in a position where I have uncalculated risk, thanks to my strong network of people who I have a supportive relationship with and have worked alongside over the years. When I reach out, they are there to share guidance to me both personally and in my business activities.

Can you share a moment when you had to think creatively to solve a problem for a client in the alternative investment sector?

Recruitment always involves creative thinking! When a candidate or client comes to me and seeks change, whatever that might look like, my job is to deliver the right solution for both sides. This can be challenging as we have been through an unsettled time in recent years. I aim to build relationships so that people feel comfortable approaching me for advice and guidance. This means I am likely to know ahead of time when a client might be looking to expand their team or a candidate might be thinking about their next move. This helps the jigsaw come together as I am often ahead of the curve with the talent pool in the market and, at the same time, able to offer opportunities to candidates that they would not be able to find elsewhere.

Can you share any lessons learned or best practices that you have established over the years in delivering managed services to this sector?

You never know when you are going to find yourself working with individuals in recruitment. With that in mind, I focus on ensuring I take a people-first approach to every introduction or business decision I make. We work in a very specialised sector, and if I do my job to the best of my ability and look after people, putting them first, I have every opportunity to build really positive long-term relationships that can last an entire career. It's incredibly rewarding for me to witness someone grow, develop, and achieve success as they progress towards their career goals. Their success is a testament to the effectiveness and value of the work we do for them.

How does your company measure its success in delivering managed services to the alternative investment sector?

Our ambition is not only to be known as the “go-to” recruiter for sourcing the finest non-investment talent but also to offer comprehensive support to our candidates, ensuring their success in this industry. We support candidates with professional guides to help build their career in the industry; we provide salary guides, data and insights into the market and personal advice. Additionally, we grant them access to networking events to increase their visibility within the industry.

Yes, we can find candidates a new job, but our commitment extends far beyond that. Another thing that truly sets us apart is the additional support we provide that ensures candidates reach their goals – because that’s what matters most to us. We do not want to be seen as a transactional recruitment firm that actually cares about your career. Another thing I’ve learned over the years is to provide transparency of communication and be honest with everyone you interact with, and this is quite rare in the recruitment business.

Can you discuss any trends or changes that you see affecting the alternative investment sector in the near future and how your company plans to respond to them?

The biggest thing I see gaining pace, and rightly so, is people wanting and needing to keep learning and developing. Leadership and continued learning are really big topics that I talk about a lot. This is great as the new generation of leaders – the people we place – understand there is always more to learn and are keen to keep doing that. This is fantastic for the whole sector and not just leadership teams because the more we are all open to learning, the more we can support each other and improve the overall operational abilities of the sector in a people and business-centric way. These are initiatives One Ten Associates and I fully support.