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Why Is The Demand For Compliance Professionals In Europe Growing?

In an increasingly regulated world, organisations are facing greater scrutiny than ever. Compliance functions have been growing for many years due to the increased focus on compliance and meeting the regulators demands.

Today compliance functions are more aligned to business strategic goals and are transforming into a more value-add service, focused on effectiveness and efficiency. A significant move away from the image of past, when Compliance Offices were referred to as the “killjoys of finances” and were seen as the “troublemakers” who created setbacks, making business more difficult.

It is without doubt that increased regulation is driving compliance demand, but are there other factors? And is this growth a temporary trend?

2008 Financial Crisis – Affected the global economy, the lack of regulation was one of the contributory factors for the crisis. The financial crisis cost the British economy up to £7.4 trillion in lost output, according to the Bank of England. The crisis drove a host of legislative, regulatory, enforcement, litigation, and political responses, many of which are still unfolding. Regulators, Investors, and the Public now have heightened expectations for Risk Management, strong Governance, Transparency, and a Culture of Compliance.

New Regulations – The Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC) landscape continuously evolve, as new regulations emerge, and changes to existing ones are made, ensuring that compliance functions are kept busy. Some of the key regulatory changes of recent years include MiFID II, MAR, and SMCR. Firms in the financial sector need to remain responsive to a wide range of developing areas, from sustainable finance, FinTech, LIBOR reform, and operational resilience, to significant changes to regulatory capital and remuneration requirements.

Penalties – In 2019 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a recording breaking £392 million fines. According to Skillcast this included Standard Chartered Bank (fined £102m) for breaches of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, and Bank of Scotland plc (fined £45.5m) for breaches of PRIN 11 & SUP – failing to be open and cooperative. Firms have been quick to realise that they need professionals with skills in risk assessment and compliance to mitigate the risks of hefty fines and reputational damage.

Brexit – With Brexit looming, many firms are in the final stages of moving their operations from the UK to continental Europe.  It has been reported that since the Referendum, 44 Firms have announced plans to make local hires for existing or newly created roles in Europe, equating to over 2,850 new jobs(1). This represents an increase of over 400 since the beginning of the year, with Dublin, Luxembourg, Frankfurt, and Paris named as the main locations. Professionals experienced in international trade and regulations are even more necessary.

Technology Developments – Though regulatory technology (RegTech) advancements are being used to facilitate compliance and aims to protect against violations or highlight vulnerabilities, the global world of technology continues to advance at pace, and the digitalisation of banking services and crypto-currencies is creating new dimensions to historic threats such as terrorism, money-laundering or international crime, and the sector recognises the need to have more AML, KYC and risk specialists onboard.

COVID-19 Global Pandemic – It has tested organisations’ operational resilience and crisis management policies. Osbourne & Clarke published the results of their “Compliance Risk Survey 2020” and reported that 56% of the respondents agreed that COVID-19 would result in a permanent increase in compliance risk, and 70% expected an increase in investment in legal compliance in the next five years.

A changing business environment, tough economic and competitive conditions, evolving risks, evolving regulatory landscape with fines and reputational risks, and cost pressures on financial institutions have led to increasing pressure on organisations to have robust compliance and risk structures and strategies. Having competent compliance specialists will enable firms have the right due diligence in place to identify risks in advance and mitigate them.

While it is difficult to predict the future and given the uncertainty around the global pandemic, we feel that the hiring outlook for Compliance remains very strong across Europe. We have had a busy fourth quarter, and we expect our pipeline to grow as we move into 2021.  

The Danos Group recruits premium Compliance, Risk and Legal professionals to the world’s leading institutions, enabling them to fulfil their legal, risk and regulatory responsibilities.

As a leading supplier of Compliance personnel to the financial services industry globally, we are extremely well-placed to find you the best permanent and interim candidates.

If you would like to discuss your hiring needs, or a recent track record of our work conducted, please contact:

Isabel Anchebe
Senior Associate, Compliance

Tel: +44 (0) 203 889 5758



Isabel Anchebe

Associate Director, Head of Compliance, Europe

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