Half Year 2017 Compliance Recruitment Update

Leo Bellometti 19.07.2017

Read the latest Compliance recruitment update which takes a look at the hiring trends within the Compliance Permanent market for 2017 so far.


Hiring within the control room has remained steady throughout 2017 across the permanent market. Hiring has focused on job seekers at both the AVP and VP level. At the AVP level, candidates with good experience within the private sector have been particularly in demand. Hiring at the VP level has concentrated on candidates with previous experience managing members within a team. At the AVP/VP level the control room market has had a candidate deficit and as such multiple roles can be presented to job seekers, with typical salary increases of 15-20% being on offer. 


For the first half of 2017 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 level and VP level that have expert knowledge of policies and implementing these. In particular, candidates with good knowledge of MiFIDII have been in demand so that the necessary resources are in place in time for its implementation in January 2018. Hiring has also taken place within consultancies demonstrating the need for these candidates. Salaries have typically ranged between £80,000 - £120,000 with increases of 15-20% on offer. 


With the market abuse regulation (MAR) coming into effect across the EU in July 2016, surveillance was extremely busy during the first half of 2016. Most banking clients were looking for individuals with excellent product knowledge, especially in the equities, fixed income, money markets and FX businesses.Should we be more lenient when it comes to hiring candidates changing industry within Finance/Accountancy?

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.  However, in 2017 the surveillance market has been very quiet thus far with only a select few replacement hires being completed. These have been at the more senior end of the spectrum such as director or VP level.  


Compliance monitoring professionals have been in high demand in 2017 as both banking and asset management firms look to strengthen in this area. Candidates with thematic monitoring experience remain highly sought after. 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 also experienced 15% - 20% increases in their salary.


The need for financial crime professionals has been a constant requirement for companies in 2017. This need has been created by a variety of factors including 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 numerous 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/Senior VP Level. 


The permanent market has been fairly busy with a number of firms hiring on both new business and onboarding positions. 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 wider AML experience. The market has also taken a slight down turn due to a number of firms near/off-shoring their KYC functions to cheaper locations such as: Bournemouth, Belfast, Moscow and India in some instances. Job seekers can expect a 15-20% salary increase and we expect the market to remain fairly similar going throughout the rest of 2017.


Sanctions related roles including screening and advisory, have been heavily recruited for in 2017 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 software-defined networking (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.Sanctions

Because of this, risk assessment and investigatory skills are essential to these roles as judgement 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. 


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 although, the skill set required has changed in 2017. 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. 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 £55,000 - £65,000 at AVP level.


2017 has been busy for asset management hiring. 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 the first half of 2017 has been in relation to recruitment for compliance within asset management and which skill sets are in the most demand.

The main areas in particular that have been the busiest so far in 2017 have been:

• Thematic Reviews / Monitoring
• Regulatory / Advisory
• Investment Guideline 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 receptive to seeing job seekers 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 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. New RegulationBecause the asset management industry has fallen under the radar 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 large 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. 


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 common systems used are Charles River, ThinkFolio, LZ Sentinel, BlackRock Aladdin, as candidates with both coding experience and pre/post trade monitoring experience being the most desirable. 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 the later part of 2017 due to costs. Although this is their intention, 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 the later part of the year, 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


Morgan McKinley is recruiting for an Onboarding Analyst on behalf of a multi-national bank based in Belfast
Leading International business in central Bristol seeking a Corporate Governance Manager
A tier-1 US Investment Bank are searching for x8 Data Entry Analysts to join them on a 6 month contract in Belfast, N.Ireland....