Whichever way the Brexit decision goes, there is a feeling of optimism across Compliance that it will bring a number of opportunities to the industry.
Compliance is one of the markets most closely linked to Brexit. Consequently, temporary hiring has been less frequent year-on-year as a large number of regulatory projects have been put on hold until a decision is made. Most people within the industry hold a similar mindset; either result will provide “opportunity”. The main reason for this is that if we stay in the EU, current projects on hold will become live again and if we leave, then a whole new set of regulations will be required. The industry remains optimistic.
On the other hand, the hiring of permanent Compliance professionals has been on the rise in recent months when compared to the start of 2019. Most of this has come from medium and smaller sized institutions, whilst large wholesale banks and brokerage houses have been less active, with any recruitment being replacement hires. In addition, Asset Managers have been hiring across different Compliance areas.
The temporary roles we have most consistently recruited for have been KYC/AML at the junior-mid level end of the market. Even though this has been one of the busier areas, most positions have been away from London, predominantly in the midlands, the north or even further afield. The main reason these roles have been on a temporary basis is because they are new or replacement hires in relatively unfamiliar, but cheaper, office locations. We are increasingly seeing near/on-shoring become a popular route for more transactional parts of banking operations, such as KYC.
One area that remains buoyant in terms of permanent hiring has been Compliance Monitoring/Reviews. The reason behind this has primarily been backfill where firms have lost their Compliance Monitoring Officer either to an internal move or to a competitor. Firms across both buy-side and sell-side have continued to recruit at the mid-senior level. CVs displaying significant experience have stood out and firms have been happy to consider candidates from different backgrounds; i.e. 3rd line or internal audit profiles.
Wellbeing has become more and more important for employees over recent years and firms are starting to take it very seriously. Agile working, enabled by technological advances, is now rife across Compliance and allows professionals to work remotely. Regardless of size, numerous firms are offering discounted gym memberships or even having gyms built on-site. Many are also allowing for flexibility around religious beliefs, which is creating a more inclusive working environment; accommodating for diversity and inclusion in the workplace has been proven to increase productivity. Workplace wellness is being promoted further by initiatives such as ‘wellness weeks’.
As stated earlier, Brexit is only going to create opportunities across Compliance. For contractors, the main piece of advice is to be open to all opportunities, regardless of payment method. In the past, temporary workers would mainly look to operate under the limited company, but with changes to IR35 coming, it’s sensible to be open to PAYE on either a daily rate or a fixed term contract.
The flow of permanent jobs has recently increased and we expect the buoyancy to remain for the next month or so before the Christmas period begins. In between, we have the Brexit vote and a decision either way will provide clarity on new regulations impacting Compliance. Candidates should remain open to all institutions if they are looking for a role during this time.
Contributors to the Compliance market update: