The contract and FTC market within Operations and Compliance has continued the form of Q4 2021. It remains a ‘candidate driven’ market with several candidates in a number of processes simultaneously. This has resulted in faster processes across the board with instances of more than two interview stages being rare. These factors have led to a salary growth in a day rate as employers seek to counteract benefits accrued with permanent and FTC employment.
Candidates are becoming more and more aware of a buoyant market and as such the candidate pool is showing signs of growth however, immediately available candidates remain highly sought after and across the industry, notice periods are remaining between 1 and 3 months. There’s expected to be more movement in the market as we come out of bonus season, as previously candidates were holding off on a move as they waited for their bonuses.
Organisations are taking advantage of strong economic growth to undertake projects and changes which were perhaps placed on a back burner through BREXIT and the pandemic. This has lead to many companies backfilling BAU functions whilst incumbents take on projects throughout the business. Candidates that have many years of experience in BAU functions are consequentially in high demand, especially in the contractors space.
There has been a noticeable slowdown in the offshoring of many operations functions which began pre Brexit, factors including the pandemic and offshore instability has very much put this process on hold. However, historic offshoring has led to a shortage of candidates in areas which have been brought back onboard.
Compliance teams are continuing to see heavy workloads, organisations remain weary of any regulatory changes that may occur as a result of BREXIT and as such are continuing to bolster teams in preparation for this. Press releases are exposing failings in Financial Crime prevention which is causing backlash for businesses are also leading to key hires within KYC and AML in order to counteract this. In particular this is becoming more prevalent in light of recent global events and the Economic Crime bill going through parliament at the time of writing.
Within asset management, key fills have been primarily in the performance space at quite senior levels. Organisations have been hesitant to look at more junior levels and as such senior candidates have been scarce and difficult to find. Product development has also witnessed key hires in most organisations, these have been due to a flurry of fund launches across the industry, particularly within the UCITs space, rate for these candidates and the knowledge that they bring has therefore remained at a higher level.
As offshoring has stalled in many areas, several positions which may have been offshored in the past have been filled. This includes settlements, recs, corporate actions and proxy voting analysts, trade processing and loan closing (the latter being a particularly big area in Q1).
Good juniors continue to have aspirations to sit within PM, or trading seats within the front office, therefore roles which offer this sort of career development or prospect continue to be popular and offer excellent candidates. Thus trading assistants and FMA positions can be a good way of providing the necessary trade support function.
Financial crime makes up the biggest proportion of work at the moment. We have developed an excellent base of candidates who are available for remediation projects which may be coming up. These candidates have all been working in remediation projects with banks and have demonstrated an ability to unpick some of the most complex organisational structures. We also have a network of candidates who are more senior within financial crime and are at a stage where they can undertake the QA/ QC position and enhanced due diligence function. Furthermore, within financial crime we are seeing cover across senior levels and deputy MLRO/ MLRO function often this is as Maternity or Paternity cover, however some more boutique houses are looking to diversify and grow there team and looking to bring in high level knowledge.
On the advisory and monitoring side, we have seen an increase in functions within control room remit, including live trade monitoring positions. These often include FinProm within them which is an attractive proposition for candidates. Moreso on the monitoring side, specific system knowledge such as charles river and Bloomberg Aim among others is attractive to employers but is something that is particularly rare in the temp market. Advisory positions have been relatively steady in the first quarter of the year, financial markets have not been faced with large amounts of new regulations, however, this could all change in Q2.
As the situation in Ukraine continues to unfold, and the slump of the rouble, and Russian economy as a whole rumbles on, organisations are weary of trading restrictions, sanctions, and are steadily boycotting commodities from Russia. In Compliance terms it is likely that the transparency laws will be fast tracked through Parliament in this session which will create a need on the advisory front and training requirements for Financial Crime analysts as new legislation is rolled out.
In an operations space, the continued growth of ESG may surge as companies ditch traditional Russian commodities such as oil and gas, this will make commodities positions in particular more difficult to fill as expertise is lost. ESG is something that is being integrated across the board, thus candidates within operations are expected to have some of this knowledge, this is a rarity in the market and as such attracts a premium rate, organisations who are willing to show flexibility and bring in candidates who express an interest in ESG rather than experience in real terms could be in a favourable position and gain some outstanding candidates.