It was never up for dispute that the Compliance market would pick up rapidly upon the conclusion of bonus season; however it has done so more dramatically than predicted. Candidates tend to stay with their firm when the alternative is to forgo a year’s bonus; however, as soon as that year’s hard work has been duly rewarded, everybody becomes a lot more open minded. Such cynicism aside, the lack of definitive answers whilst our exit from the EU draws ever nearer is undeniably a contributing factor; not knowing if one will be relocated to the continent within a year has pushed many to look elsewhere for more stability. It should also not be ignored that a significant number of firms are building their Compliance teams; both in line with the ever growing requirement for Compliance personnel, and with incoming regulations and other external change which have to be meticulously planned around.
This was the area which was arguably most buoyant in Q1, and has shown no signs of coming to a halt. Movement drives hiring, and this cycle has certainly become more evident. The need for additional headcount amongst the growing firms has also been noticed, and many of these roles will be genuinely generalist covering everything from Guideline Monitoring to Horizon Scanning. This certainly reflects the increased scrutiny on these firms from the regulators, as some of these firms possibly were barely required to cover the finer details.
This was an area with great momentum in Q1, which has remained to be something of a hot topic through Q2, although perhaps not with quite as much focus as areas such as Monitoring. These roles have been somewhat more senior than their Monitoring counterparts, typically ranging between Senior Associate to junior VP.
Distribution Compliance has continued to display a real demand for quality candidates, and it is certainly an area within which clients are very particular about required knowledge and experience, and understandably so. However, in contrast with Q1, these roles have been leaning less towards pure Financial Promotions review, and more towards the more technical and broader side of Distribution Compliance. This are has also seen an increase in the desire for candidates to have European language skills as firms consider expanding their presence into EU hubs.
Q2 has seen a real surge in Monitoring roles, with a range of vacancies at the Analyst and Associate level. These roles required candidates from a similar firm with similar experience, and, due to the volume of candidates, little room to stretch. This could well reflect a need to review controls in place with the ever present onslaught of regulations.
As discussed in the last two editions of our Market Commentary, Investment Guidelines is an area within which the demand has increased significantly. From a vacancy perspective this has in no sense slowed down, although candidates’ inclination to move perhaps has. These candidates are so sought after, and so vital to ongoing operations, that they are well looked after by their current firms. It seems that the frustration shared by slightly underappreciated candidates in other areas is certainly not to be present in anyone involved with Investment Guidelines.
Financial Crime hiring on the buy-side has been relatively quiet, although we anticipate something of a surge later on in the year. As before, possessing adequate knowledge of Financial Crime, AML and KYC is certainly an advantage for candidates in the running for generalist roles, with some roles at smaller firms incorporating it as a decent fraction of the work.
The advisory space has become considerably busier this quarter, as predicted. The roles are varied in level; however this is on the whole where we have seen our most senior roles. These have encompassed all manner of topics, although it’s worth noting that there has been an interesting surge in roles focused on Private Side advisory. Fixed Income Advisory has also seen a fair amount of movement. Due to the intricacy of front office teams, talent retention is critical; finding candidates who have expert knowledge of certain products as well as excellent senior stakeholder management skills is hard to come by.
Monitoring within Investment Banking has also picked up, and it’s interesting to note that a number of these roles are due diligence / audit type roles focused on CASS. More general thematic monitoring roles have been largely exclusive to the buy-side, which incidentally seem to pay a little less than their Investment Banking counterparts.
Senior roles within Investment Banking have more often than not focused significantly or solely on Horizon Scanning of Regulatory Developments. As is becoming the common theme throughout 2017/18, the increased scrutiny from regulators – as well as the vast fines which can accompany those visits – is forcing the hand of all banks to employ more staff keeping track of regulatory developments on the horizon. As there is no room for error here, senior, well-seasoned regulatory professionals are essential to keep an ear to the ground and ensure the entire business is appropriately prepared for anything inbound.
In the coming few months it is expected that crucial inbound regulations and changes, namely SMR, GDPR and Brexit will continue to drive demand for compliance roles. Prior to the arrival of SMR, there is likely to be a surge in related activity on the buy-side, as the majority of SMR experts currently reside on the sell-side. Additionally, whilst activity in asset management is fairly steady throughout the year, investment banking typically undergoes a quiet phase prior to the review period. As such, there is likely to be a increase in movement when bonuses are paid out. Undoubtedly the significant proportion of compliance professionals working in investment banking who have not gained a promotion this year will be contributing to this movement.
The contract market within compliance has been steady, and much busier on the buy-side than on the sell-side. In common with the permanent market, a good proportion of these roles have been generalist and distribution roles – however the latter have mostly sat purely within Financial Promotions, perhaps serving as an explanation for the slight downturn in these roles in the permanent market. Most of these roles have been rolling contracts, however towards the beginning of the quarter there were a number of very short term roles in the GDPR space.
Compliance outside of London
Regional recruitment has continued to lean towards areas which are less business facing, as these roles need not be in the thick of it in the City. With the increasing trend amongst the bigger firms of outsourcing these roles to their regional offices, hiring outside London has picked up considerably. With Brexit impending many firms are also continuing their foray into Europe, with roles in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Luxembourg City and Madrid, amongst others stealthily taking up an increasing fraction of live vacancies. In some cases, this is a result of certain areas of Compliance being outsourced to the continent; however these roles more than often are leadership roles, and in many cases standalone roles, as compliance departments become newly established in these locations.
BRUIN Financial are proud winners of the ‘Recruiter of the Year’ category at the 2018 Women in Finance Awards, which recognises the firm that has championed equal pay and diversity in financial recruitment. BRUIN was particularly commended for leading change in the industry and providing insightful counsel to help their clients achieve fair gender representation at every level.
From a recruitment perspective, BRUIN has recently opened an office in Dublin in partnership with local firm Barden, to provide high quality specialist recruitment services into the Irish financial services sector. For more information on our Irish capability, please contact one of our Consultants.
We are also delighted to have been recognised by the Sunday Times as a Best 100 Small Company to Work For in the UK, and additionally ranked in the list for London.