Compliance Market Commentary Q4, 2014

• Article by BRUIN Financial

Compliance Market Commentary Q4, 2014

Market Overview

2014 has finished as expected, with high volumes in terms of Compliance recruitment. The past quarter has continued to be busy as clients have completed their hiring plans for the year. This correlates to the ever-increasing levels of regulation and the corresponding shift in attitude from the board down in terms of investing in Compliance teams and their frameworks.

During Q4, Asset Managers have significantly increased their levels of hiring. Notably, many top tier firms have recruited in “bulk” as their teams expanded to meet the challenging demands from the Regulators. As a result, we have had multiple roles across all specialisms of Compliance, at all levels, from household names in the market. The need for true Asset Management experience is essential and we find that often, many candidates do not hold the required depth and stakeholder management skills to excel in these roles. Likewise, many Asset Managers have lost talented members of staff to other areas of Financial Services, predominantly Investment Banks and Hedge Funds. This is due to increasing flexibility on the backgrounds of candidates, and candidates seeking variety in potential roles, as there is a shortage of high-calibre Compliance professionals.

The Banks continue to recruit and increasingly utilise BRUIN Financial for particularly niche roles. As Compliance teams become more siloed and specialist, the need to recruit candidates who have expertise within a specific field is paramount. Our ability to headhunt from our clients’ competitors has ensured that we have been able to identify and specifically target high quality individuals and place them successfully into exciting and challenging new roles.

In terms of salaries, we have seen a significant and steep incline in basic salaries overall. Looking at placements throughout Q4 where candidates moved from one permanent role to another, we have seen a 23.64% increase on average. Interestingly, on the Investment Banking side the increase stood at 26%, whereas Asset Management salary rises were slightly lower at 22%.

Role Profiles

The Regulatory space continues to hold the most weight in terms of Recruitment. Over the past quarter, with the Regulators gaining in strength and many new pieces of legislation coming down the pipeline, hiring has intensified. In particular, we have seen a drive to recruit specific regulatory specialists, specialising in areas such as MiFID II, AIFMD, Dodd-Frank, FATCA etc.

Moreover, there has been an increased demand to recruit candidates who have knowledge of global regulators and their individual requirements. Most noticeably, we have seen an increased demand in the recruitment of SEC specialists, who have in-depth experience of Dodd Frank, Volker etc. The immediate knock-on effect of this recruitment drive will continue to impact the Policy teams and further grow the Government Relations & External Relations teams with increasing need to interpret and implement new regulation.

The other important shift in Compliance recruitment has been the overlap with other departments. Positions coming through have often straddled multiple business areas, such as roles that cover both Compliance and IT/Systems, or Compliance and Operations, that now come together under one requirement. Often lines are blurred as to where these positions sit and their reporting lines, with a particularly debatable and ongoing topic being conduct risk.


The FCA and PRA are only moving in one direction in terms of new regulation and legislation coming through. As a result recruitment within Compliance will continue to be busy. From a Banking perspective, we expect a new wave of hires to come through in February. As most Financial Services firms approach their core bonus period, the annual “merry-go-around” effect will commence from the start of January. Many firms who have offered candidates over the past quarter will wait for their bonuses to be paid out in the New Year and from there resign after they have been paid. Some firms have bought out bonuses to ensure that they are not delaying the process or losing candidates to their competitors. Some candidates have even moved right at the end of the year, forgoing their bonus, due to healthy base increases.

We predict that bonus pools in their entirety will be fair, however, candidates who have over-achieved should find that the pools are weighted in their favour with a view to firms retaining top-tier talent. Those who have underperformed or carried out their role to a basic level will receive a minimal percentage. In short, the high performers will receive the majority proportion of the bonus pool. At the senior level, some firms will look to pay out bonuses in both cash and shares, which typically vest over three years.

There will be a continual need for firms to utilise specialist Compliance recruitment agencies for niche and technical roles to ensure that they are recruiting specialists. However, from a client perspective, we advise that requirements and criteria are outlined at the initial stages of hiring, but also have an element of flexibility; if a candidate has the aptitude to pick up new areas, as well as utilise transferable experience, we would advise clients to think more creatively about the candidates that they wish to meet. Most importantly, speed is of the essence and if a candidate is progressed to offer stages the process should be efficient and fast in order to secure the candidate, as they will frequently have two or more offers on the table.

Compliance Breakfast Seminar

We held another successful Breakfast Seminar in December looking at MiFID II which we hosted with AIMA (Alternative Investment Management Association). We had over 25 Compliance professionals join us. In the New Year we will be looking to hold another such event, so if you wish to be present, or have any specific areas that you wish to hear about, please do get in touch.


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