‘War for talent’ being waged in compliance space

‘War for talent’ being waged in compliance space

IFA networks and wealth managers are struggling to find the quality and quantity of compliance staff to keep up with an ever-increasing regulatory burden, according to industry professionals.

Andrew Wallace, partner at financial services search firm Leathwaite, told FTAdviser that there is a “war for talent” in the compliance space, with extreme shortages of candidates meaning search firms like his need to be more imaginative in sourcing people.

He said: “Unlike accountancy or the legal profession, compliance and risk management was only really invented in the last 30 years. I think 2015 will see a lot more regulatory activity, so there’s continued need for non-revenue producing staff.”

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Mark Spiers, head of wealth at regulatory consulting firm Bovill, agreed that the market is very much skewed towards job hunters, as various large regulatory projects have seen large banks and institutions “hoovering up” experienced staff.

He added: “This means that demand for consultancy services is on the up, as smaller firms look for infill, and there’s a definite stickiness to the market with most compliance people being put on three or six months notice periods.”

At the start of the year, Matthew Timmins, SimplyBiz Group’s joint managing director, warned that 2015 is going to be a big year for compliance, with the Financial Conduct Authority about to toughen things up following several thematic reviews last year.

Mr Wallace added that alongside this supply and demand mismatch in the compliance employee market, the increasing regulatory burden is also turning eligible graduates off the financial advice profession.

“It’s hard on IFAs, more accountability and scrutiny from the regulators will discourage those less qualified and graduates have been looking elsewhere since the crisis; often to the tech sector.

“As the burden of regulatory responsibility upon advisers gradually increases, as you would expect, I wholeheartedly recommend working with a compliance consultant or support provider,” he commented.