Q1 Overview – Brexit Preparations
In Q1 across Banking and Asset Management we experienced an increase in hiring as firms rushed to get Brexit plans in place for the then March 31st deadline. This resulted in a demand for Brexit lawyers and Regulatory specialists chiefly on the contract side but also hired as permanent employees.
Shift to Europe
Many of the major international banks continued with plans to set up offices in Europe and we have seen an increase in hiring and shift in headcount allocation to the major European centres: Frankfurt, Paris Amsterdam. This resulted in a reduced demand for permanent legal counsel in the UK evidenced in Q2 particularly at the more senior (SVP / D – MD ) levels.
Asset Manager & UCITS
Asset managers have also been following this trend with shifting ofr resources and new hiring in Dublin & Luxembourg. There has been an increase in demand in both these centres for Legal Counsel and Company Secretaries particularly with UCTIS experience as firms launch more UCITS based fund products for sale & distribution in the EU post Brexit.
UK Ring Fenced Banks
Within the UK, the major UK banks have largely completed the Ring Fencing programs which created demand for Regulatory and change focused legal counsel and are now continuing their ongoing Programs of shifting Legal teams and other staff to Regional offices (chiefly Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow & Dublin). This has resulted in a tight market for legal talent in these locations as the local supply of experienced FS Legal Counsel has historically been limited. Salaries have been rising to reflect this. We have also seen an increase in demand for Paralegals in these locations as the trend is to centralise product and higher margin Legal Resource in London and have an increasing amount of the day to day business / drafting etc. being allocated to the Regional Centres.
Legal Pricing Management
As banks have become more budget conscious they are constantly seeking new ways to reduce legal spend and this has resulted in an increase in demand for Legal Pricing Managers to negotiate Global Supplier agreements with the major Law firms and also Legal Project managers to manage Projects and processes within the Legal teams working along side the Heads of Legal and Legal Management.
Reg Tech & Law Tech
The impact of Reg Tech is also being seen here as firms seek to utilise cutting edge Tech and AI to manage legal processes and documentation.
Demand remains strong within Asset Management chiefly for Funds Llawyers with a UCTIS background. There is also demand for Regulatory Legal Counsel to cover EU regulations and dual qualified lawyers / fluency in French or German is becoming much more in demand and we expect to see this trend going forwards.
Trade Finance / Securitisation
Within Investment Banking there is demand for Specialist Legal Counsel e.g in Trade Finance / Securitisation.
Payments & Fintech
Lawyers with Payments experience are also in demand by Banks and Fintech firms as challenger banks continue to be set up. Legal Counsel with Consumer Lending experience are also in demand as an increase in Retail lending has resulted in more activity in this area.
Commercial & IT
Commercial Legal Counsel with Commercial Contracts / IT experience is in heavy demand across FS, Commerce & Industry and Technology.
Corporate & Re Org
With the economy beginning to slow and with the slowdown in retail spending we are beginning to see an increase in demand for Corporate & Re Org specialists.
Increase demand for Legal Counsel qualified in Europe / native French / German speaking Legal Counsel with Regulatory experience. Continued demand for UCITS and Funds specialists within the UK and Dublin / Luxembourg.
For more information about the market or current opportunities please contact one of our Consultants.