Not many people brought in 2021 with fireworks however Q1 for the Compliance Desk started with a BANG!

It was great to see the confidence growing in the market and interestingly the majority of new roles being released were due to growth rather the replacement hires. With the increase of live roles and the high volume of skilled and available candidates, speed has become an important factor. Candidates are having more than one option and more often than not clients are losing out on their preferred candidates due to an inability to speed up processes.


We have noticed a trend where many organisations appear to have taken the opportunity last year to take stock and reorganise their structures. Many of our clients have taken the decision to split the Compliance and Financial Crime functions, which has led to a need for strong AML candidates who have experience in building the Financial Crime Framework.

As we progressed through Q1, there has been a resurrection of the senior end of the market. The previous 6 months has been dominated by junior and mid-senior hires, however as we approached the ‘bonus season’ the senior end of the market seems to be gathering momentum. We predict this to be buoyant in Q2.

Head of Compliance/CCO – The latter end of Q1 has seen the need for more Senior hires across Financial services. We are assisting Asset Managers, Brokerages and Fintech businesses with their need for experienced candidates to hold the SMF16. We believe this area will continue to pick up momentum in Q2 as the ‘musical chairs’ commence.

Financial Crime

This area has seen another spike in Q1 across Financial Services, We have had both newly created and replacement roles across Asset Management, Investment Banking and Brokerage firms. We have seen a mixture of both permanent and Fixed Term Contract roles this quarter and this has been across the board, from AML analyst to MLRO’s. Firms are setting up to bolster their teams with strong attention on candidates with strong AML, AB&C and Sanctions experience. In addition to this, candidates with hands on experience in building Frameworks are highly sought after along with Generalist Financial Crime Compliance candidates.

Compliance Advisory/Regulatory Compliance – As the Regulatory landscape has continued to evolve in 2020, Q1 has also seen an increased interest in Compliance Advisory and Regulatory candidates. The Investment Firms Regulation (IFR) and the Investment Firms Directive (IFD) will take effect in June 2021, and the FinTech and Innovation space has seen a few firms being proactive and ensuring they have high calibre candidates able to breakdown and educate the business on changes.


In Q4 it was apparent the fallout of Covid-19 had left very good candidates who were immediately available to start jobs and we have seen that in the mid to senior range, firms have been able to get talent for slightly cheaper. However, Q1 has seen a shift in this and candidates expectations have gone back to market rate. The increased volume of roles has seen good candidates able to negotiate salaries upwards.  Another important factor in decision making for candidates has been the approach of client to flexible working going forward. Although most client are yet to clarify what the new ‘normal’ will look like, candidates are keen to see flexibility and we commonly hear the request and preference for 3 to 4 days maximum in the office.

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