Q4 was a strong close to the year, with levels of recruitment in the UK’s financial services hubs the most buoyant of 2017. BRUIN’s London based Regional team were instructed on roles from Bristol to Cardiff, Reading, Southampton, Bournemouth, Sussex, Birmingham, Bath, and Milton Keynes to name but a few, with a 40% increase in requirements by comparison to the same period last year. Notably, client requirements were predominately growth hires rather than replacements, with many building out additional new teams.
This mirrors the recent positive announcements for investment and employment throughout the regions. HMRC plans to move more than 3,500 tax workers to Birmingham and is undergoing a major review of its estate which is expected to see its offices consolidated into 13 regional hubs across the country; The Labour party has proposed to move some of the Bank of England’s functions to Birmingham and establish offices in Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast, with smaller regional offices in Newcastle and Plymouth; The latest Lloyds Business in Britain Report also indicates that business confidence in the North East and North West is the highest in the country, followed closely by the West Midlands.
Interestingly the report also revealed that London is experiencing the greatest sector wide recruitment difficulties and research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the internal migration of 30-39-year-olds from London to Manchester and Birmingham has hit a 10-year high, as young professionals move elsewhere looking for lower house prices and a better quality of life.
We have also noted significant uplift in candidate interest for roles outside London. Increasingly we are seeing candidates opting to relocate from one regional financial services hub to another, rather than moves to / from the capital. Now well established, the large Investment Banks know they can attract good people outside of London and are capitalising on the success of these hubs to build out their teams. Over the last quarter several Investment Banks with regional headquarters revealed plans to double, or even triple their presence in certain areas, particularly across cyber crime, compliance, financial crime and surveillance, regulatory operations and client data.
Movers and Shakers
- Bank of America: Bringing back Product Control from New York to Chester
- Santander: Consolidating sites in Bletchley to Milton Keynes
- L&G: Office closure in Kingswood, Surrey and moved back to Hove
As the financial services industry has grown increasingly reliant upon electronic data and emerging FinTech, so too has the sector (and its regulators) become increasingly concerned with security and resilience. The safety of financial and personal data from theft, cyberattacks, hacking or unethical usage, has driven client demand for professionals specialising in cyber-security, anti-money laundering and anti-sanctions, and financial data parsing. This blend of IT and operational skills is a profile much in demand given its important role in managing inter- and intra- firm risk. As a result, candidates particularly sought after are those with experience in trade surveillance, Python, SAS, SQL, compliance, and IT risk.
Historically, this experience would have needed to be acquired in financial services, but increasingly clients are open to candidates with transferrable skills gained from other sectors. Organisations such as Barclays, HSBC, and JP Morgan have all heavily invested in big data, and management thereof, throughout the UK and specifically Scotland. Whilst the ability to face off to front office teams based in London is required, a physical presence in the City isn’t, and is partly why teams focusing on RegTech have become such a high growth area in the regions.
In contrast, Deutsche Bank’s decision to move a significant proportion of front office staff to Birmingham has resulted in demand over the last quarter in Corporate Broking, Corporate Finance, and Structured Finance. Requirements tended to be for young talent, with Analysts and 2nd jobbers a common profile for moves into front office roles.
Customer services was another key trend over the last 18 months, with the likes of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse consolidating their overseas operations from sites such as South America and India to shared services hubs in Poland.
The financial sector is well versed in the complex demands of complying with new regulation, as demonstrated two recent examples, MiFID II and Priips. Setting aside Brexit, one of the key challenges for the financial services sector in 2018 will be implementation of The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Adherence will require significant updates to a wide variety of process relating to customer data, from client or customer on-boarding, relationship management, trade-booking, and accounting. But it also offers an opportunity for businesses to redefine their relationships with customers, and in the current climate customer retention is critical. Financial services firms will need to continue their investment in resource in this area and we anticipate that it will remain a key focus for 2018 as banks and asset managers continue to focus on enhancing and streamlining their processes.
Finally, agile working has become more and more important as a means of attracting talent for regional hubs. L&G and BNY have been promoting this offering heavily, and with 2018 likely to be a turbulent year for the financial services industry, with Brexit on the horizon and open banking coming into play, talent retention will be key.
BRUIN recently held an event in partnership with The 30% Club and Women Ahead, a diversity mentoring specialist at M&G’s London offices. This was held in November to explore the innovative strategies being used by firms to attract and retain women in City and address the challenge of gender imbalance within financial services, with over 100 financial services professionals in attendance. This event complemented another recent event held at M&G’s offices focusing on Women Returners for the Diversity Project, for which BRUIN is represented on the Steering Committee and presented on the day.
Please get in touch if you would like to hear about further events on this theme.