Few Shocks and Surprises for Compliance Perm Recruitment in 2016

Leo Bellometti 02.02.2017

Read the latest compliance recruitment insight which takes a look at the hiring trends within the compliance permanent market for 2016 so far.

Control Room

Hiring within the control room has remained steady throughout 2016 across the permanent market. On the permanent side, hiring has focused on candidates at both the AVP and VP level. At the AVP level, candidates with good experience within control room surveillance topics have been in demand. Hiring at the VP level has focussed on candidates with previous experience managing members within a team and previous experience within the Private Side has proved beneficial. At the AVP/VP level the control room market has been candidate short and as such multiple roles can be presented to candidates with typical salary increases of 15-20% being on offer. 


As with all years previous to 2016, regulation and regulatory change has been top of the agenda for recruitment across the permanent market. The focus has been towards hiring staff at the senior VP level that have expert knowledge of policies. In particular, candidates with good knowledge of MiFIDII have been in demand so that the necessary resources were in place in time for its implementation in 2017. In addition, with SMR coming into force in March 2016, there has been a need across a number of institutions for candidates with this background. Hiring has also taken place for candidates with expert US Regulatory understanding. Salaries have typically ranged between £80,000 - £120,000 with increase of 15-20% on offer. 


With the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) coming into effect across the EU in July 2016, the world of surveillance was very busy, particularly in H1 2016. Most banking clients were looking for individuals with excellent product knowledge, especially in the equities, fixed income, money markets and FX businesses. Much of the hiring was seen at VP level with over 10 new vacancies in Q1, 2016 alone. Salaries ranged between, £85,000 - £120,000, which represented a £10,000 increase from data compiled for the previous year.

Not only did we see a big uptake in core product surveillance roles. We experienced more demand for those individuals with lexicon and voice surveillance experience. A number of larger banks were seeking to improve systems and develop bespoke lexicons to ensure they were reporting accurately on all instances of market abuse and impropriety. This led to more demand for quantitative and technically minded individuals who were able to bridge the gap between IT and Compliance.   


Much like surveillance, compliance monitoring professionals have been much in demand during 2016. Both banking and asset management firms have been looking to strengthen in this area. Candidates with thematic monitoring experience remain highly sort of. Individuals with audit backgrounds who have moved into a 1st or 2nd line role have found the market increasingly productive with a range of opportunities.

A number of our banking clients were looking for professionals with strong assurance, risk review and assessment experience. Coupled with the need for cross product monitoring professionals to perform high level, analytical testing and desk review roles. Strong product knowledge monitoring candidates often experienced a 15% - 20% increase in their salary.

Financial Crime Compliance

The need for Financial Crime professionals has been a consistent requirement for companies in 2016. This need has been created by a variety of factors including such as regulatory pressure and changes in legislation as well as many forms diversifying portfolios in order to generate profits in what has been a difficult year for the markets.


General AML vacancies have been the focus of mid sized firms predominantly, as larger firms continue to split responsibilities into more specialist positions. These vacancies have largely been at the AVP/VP level and encompass, Sanctions, Transaction Monitoring and EDD responsibilities. Smaller companies including challenger banks have also increased the size of their AML teams as they continue to gain traction and generate business from household names. For permanent opportunities salaries range from £50,000 - £75,000 for AVP Level and £75,000 – £120,000 for VP Level. 


The permanent market has been fairly busy with a number of firms hiring on both new business and remediation type roles. The struggle has been that candidates are hard to find which is due to the difference between permanent salaries and contractual daily rates. In addition, most KYC roles have been looking for people who have strong wider AML experience. The market has also taken a slight down turn due to a number of firms near or off-shoring their KYC functions to cheaper locations such as: Bournemouth, Belfast, Moscow and India in some instances. Candidates can expect a 15-20% salary increase and we expect the market to remain fairly similar going into 2017.


Sanctions related roles including screening and advisory have been heavily recruited for in 2016 with the majority of vacancies coming from global investment banks. As these firms have a global footprint and large volumes of “high risk” clients who may do some business or may be associated with SDN’s or specific jurisdictions, the need for screening Swift payments for potential hits has become essential in order to keep the susceptibility of large regulatory fines at a minimum. Because of this, risk assessment skills are essential to these roles as judgment calls need to be made on each transaction. As well as this, the ever changing sanctions climate has created a need for Sanctions Advisory professionals to guide banks on process change to lifting sanctions such as those on Iran and Cuba. These roles usually have a high level of regulatory liaison making stakeholder management skills essential. Candidates typically received a 15% pay rise in this space. 

Transaction Monitoring

Much like sanctions, large investment banks have been the key player here however there has been some competition from Emerging Markets firms. Recruitment within this area has been a mixture of BAU and clearing backlogs. As more individuals and companies continue to go digital, volumes have increased in electronic payments which has created a shortage in screening specialists. Within emerging markets there has been a specific interest in systems SME’s (Actimize, Ficrosoft etc) as they look to migrate systems from more archaic in house models. Candidates typically received a 15% pay rise in this space.


Much like Generalist AML positions, EDD roles have remained consistent. However in 2016 the skill set required has changed. There is now a heavy emphasis on investigative ability such as those from a governmental agency i.e. SOCA or the NCA. Performing in depth Risk Assessments on PEP, Sanctions, ABC or CTF issues requires more than just a KYC Analyst. A financial Intelligence and even journalistic background with Financial Services is advantageous. The demand for language ability has also grown. Exotic languages such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese and Russian are highly desirable Companies from large investment banks to mid sized firms have all recruited for this area paying usually day or £55,000 - £65,000. 

Compliance – Asset Management

2016 was a year that provided a few shocks and surprises and the general feeling is that the recruitment market felt the full brunt of this, however one area which seemed to be pretty immune was the compliance market, specifically within Asset Management. It’s no secret that the Banking/Sell-side businesses have been heavily targeted by the regulator since the collapse of 2008, however it seems that the Asset Management industry is one that has become increasingly targeted by the regulator over the past 12-24 months.

This is reflected in the volume of hiring within compliance for buy-side clients. Below, I will give a brief overview of how 2016 has been in relation to recruitment for compliance within asset management, the hot areas and which skill sets are in the most demand.

Compared to the Investment Banks in particular, Asset Management compliance teams have generally been smaller in size, with fewer specialists. That being said, many organisations have increased their compliance teams, some by two-folds over the past 12-24 months and this has continued into this year.

The main areas in particular that have been the busiest are:

  • Thematic Reviews / Monitoring
  • Regulatory / Advisory
  • Investment Guideline Monitoring

Thematic reviews / Monitoring

This is an area and skill set which has been highly sought after in both the buy-side and sell-side market, which can lead to Asset Managers being more receptive to taking Investment Banking Monitoring candidates and vice-versa. A number of Asset Managers have hired into their retrospective Monitoring teams this year, on both a replacement basis and to bolster their teams. Due to the increased demand for these candidates, clients have been very receptive to seeing candidates with Internal Audit backgrounds, Big 4 consultancy and Investment Banking. Salaries can range from £40,000 - 70,000 for junior/mid level candidates and £70,000-120,000 for senior/management candidates.

Regulatory / Advisory

Regulatory / Advisory candidates have also been in demand due to the increased regulatory pressure on Asset Management businesses. Due to the Investment Banks having been under regulatory pressure since 2008, there are many regulatory / advisory investment banking specialists in the market. Because the Asset Management industry has fallen under the raider for a number of years, this skill set is not as common and this has resulted in many lucrative moves this year; as clients know they will have to make big offers to secure candidates with the required skill set. Candidates are expected to provide regulatory updates and advice to senior stakeholders, portfolio managers and the wider business. With MiFID II upcoming, many firms have hired these specialists on both a permanent and temporary contract to assist with what is coming. Salaries can range from £60,000-90,000 for mid/senior candidates and £90,000-120,000 for senior/management candidates. 

Investment Guideline Monitoring

This has been a buoyant market for a number of years now on both the permanent and contract market, with many firms bolstering their teams. The most commonly systems used are Charles River, ThinkFolio, LZ Sentinel, BlackRock Aladdin, candidates with both Coding experience, as well as Pre/Post trade monitoring experience being most desired. The majority of clients have a number of contractors in their Investment Guideline Monitoring teams, with many looking to replace these with permanent staff moving into 2017 due to costs. Although this is their intentions, it will be a tough task asking current daily rate contractors to convert to permanent as there is a big pay difference in today’s market. Salaries can range from £45,000-80,000 for junior/mid level staff and £80,000-120,000 for senior/management candidates. 

As we move into 2017, we anticipate that Regulatory/Advisory professionals will be one of, if not the most in demand skill sets due to upcoming regulations and with the Asset Management industry becoming under more scrutiny by the regulator. We anticipate that many organisations will add to their teams, as well as replace any outgoing staff.

Leo Bellometti's picture
Senior Consultant | Compliance Recruitment


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