MiFID still the buzzword in IT projects recruitment for 2017

Mark Astbury 08.11.2017

The IT projects world has seemed relatively quiet over the last quarter especially within the financial services sector. Within banking; budgets, time and resources are still being dedicated to the implementation of MiFID II and ring fencing. This has brought with it a level of hiring as firms rush to get both over the line. 

MiFID II has been the main buzzword for 2017 and Q3 has been no different. The regulation has been the main source of hiring, mostly focused on the business side. The reason for this is simple. The biggest issue with delivering MiFID II is getting traders to change their behaviour. Traders are far from the easiest stakeholders at the best of times and MiFID II is threatening them with greater scrutiny, reduced margin and increased central control. With all of these it’s to be expected that they will push back. Most of the IT focused roles we have seen have been based around small tactical changes to front to back operations architecture to carry out transaction reporting. 

While ring fencing has brought about roles in technology as firms segregate legal entities within their existing architecture, the roles don’t seem to be hugely strategic. The technology deliveries have been more tactical than anything else; making sure that data feeds don’t intertwine or lifting and shifting current systems rather than implementing brand new large scale pieces of tech. 

However, hiring in both of these areas seems to have slowed over the past few weeks. This could down to a number of reasons. This may be down to overstretched budgets. It may be that organisations don’t want to add even more resources to already enormous and often bulging teams as we move into the final stages of the programmes. On the other hand it could simply be that they don’t have enough time to recruit people. Either way it seems that many large and small organisations are fully ramped up for delivery, whether or not they make the deadline in January is another story. 

GDPR has also kicked up something of a fuss. Most big banks seem to be waiting for someone to crack the code on the many conflicts between the banking focused regulations and GDPR. Until that’s done it seems as though they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, delivering what they can but unable to really nail down the whole piece. These programmes seem to have mostly been pulled from within businesses rather than going external, although I’m sure that consultancies will do very well out of the regulation over the next few months. 

The elephant in the room is of course Brexit. Everyone is making plans, be they large strategic changes or smaller tactical ones but the general consensus seems to be that no one knows what the relationship between the EU and Britain will look like so it’s hard to know what to deliver. That hasn’t stopped some organisations breaking ground early on their responses. 

The real impact of Brexit so far has been the almost palpable tension around it. The distinct lack of any concrete demands from the UK and the obvious frustrations from the EU has seemed to slow things in the UK down to a halt. In this incredibly ambiguous world it’s not just a question of why would a company make any strategic decisions, but also how could they make those decisions? 

All round, IT projects have remained dominated by regulatory demands with occasional system upgrades. The ever looming new technologies continue to make promises of innovation and growth, and while money is being poured into them, they haven’t quite taken off in the projects world as much as we would have liked. It’s hard to know what the new year will bring right now as organisations are holding their cards very close to their chests. However, there does seem to have been a shift in the tone of the conversations we’ve had. This year everyone has spoken a lot about delivering what they need to, delivery for next year seems a to be more focused on what organisations want to do...

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