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Compliance talent in demand as firms increase headcount

Throughout the US, we are seeing a huge hiring drive for financial services professionals, particularly in the Compliance function. Last year was a fairly stagnant year in the industry, with hiring freezes in many of the big firms.

This is a cyclical trend that follows the election cycle – we see a slowdown in election year and a boom the year after as hiring picks up, so it was not unexpected that firms took a wait-and-see approach while a turbulent election campaign took place. Brexit, too, is a possible factor in the cautious attitude firms took toward hiring in 2016.

More movement in the market

Now that the market is more stable, firms have come out of hiatus, and it is likely that the huge amounts of hiring we are now seeing now is due to a combination of:

·        Replacement hiring due to natural attrition during 2016;

·        Catch-up headcount – filling the gap in natural growth from last year;

·        Building out new functions.

The Compliance professionals we speak to are feeling more comfortable with the idea of moving roles, whereas last year they were staying put – many were reluctant even to interview for new roles.

What are firms looking for?

The firms we work with are looking for front office sales & trading advisory compliance professionals across all products, and in large numbers. We are currently placing a number of professionals into securities division compliance, within major investment banks.

Firms are also looking to fill out their capabilities across new functions; as trading becomes more automated and tech focused, there’s a need to bolster regulatory cover. Electronic trading coverage is sought after, and firms are looking for quant and tech specialists rather than traditional lawyers or compliance officers for this space.

That said, there is no one specialty being prioritized for hiring over any other: there is simply a lot of hiring across the board.

What’s on offer?

With so much competition and in such a fluid market, firms are having to move quickly, as the top applicants are receiving multiple offers, with top prospects are being offered strong remuneration and benefits packages.

The message here? Now is a very good time for Compliance professionals to look for a new job – firms are highly motivated to boost their capabilities and top candidates will be in high demand.

If you’re a financial services professional in Compliance considering your next move, contact me today on +1 212 600 4827 or