Danos Group
14 Jan

As a global headhunting firm that specialises in Compliance, Legal, and Risk within the Banking and Financial Services Industry, we had a busy 2019 adapting to new and developing trends within the sector, around the globe.  From the growth of teams across Europe in anticipation of ‘Brexit’, to the expansion of the Singapore market, and the changing geography of Compliance within the US – 2019 has been a year of change. 

The regulatory landscape is an ever-changing beast, and in our experience, reacts (or proacts) to various trends, including profitability of business lines, business lines that are in trouble, the economy, socio-political events, and so on.     

Hiring in this space naturally reacts to the needs created by these trends, so we constantly get asked “what is going to happen with hiring in 2020?” by our clients and candidates. We can formulate an opinion, gleaned from hundreds of conversations with practitioners every week, and are able to give a coherent view.  

US Compliance Market Trends

As far as the US Compliance ‘market’ is concerned, in 2019 we saw new and developing trends that have required creative, and expert headhunting skills to find the right people for our clients. 

Near-shoring

The ‘near-shoring’ phenomenon is happening in most ‘tier one’ Global Banking and Markets institutions.  The practice of relocating teams to lower-cost centers, away from more expensive traditional financial services hubs, is in full-throttle.  In 2019 we supported many clients with their hiring in these new hubs; in fact, this activity is at the highest level we have seen since launching Danos Associates US back in 2014.

There is much ‘academic’ debate around the long-term wisdom of this practice, but most big firms are doing it.  Near-shore / low-cost / high-value centres are growing all over the US. While this creates opportunities and economic growth in these new near-shore hubs, and makes short-term economic sense to firms engaging in the practice, the other side of the coin sees jobs moving away from traditional financial services centers like New York City, and presents future hiring problems in the new hubs where experienced talent is less abundant.

As a result, more candidates are open to relocation, considering opportunities in a different sector within the industry, or moving to a non-peer firm. 

While the ‘tier one’ investment banks are all doing this to varying degrees, second and third tier firms are very active in hiring in the traditional hubs.  We see constant migration of talent away from the tier one firms into this space, which can present great opportunity and exposure for candidates used to a bigger firm environment.  

Buy Side

Compliance hiring within buy side firms has been very active in the last 12-24 months.  The big players continue to build out investment bank style compliance structures, and therefore attract much talent from the sell side.  Also, with many firms developing new products and strategies, there has been constant demand for strong Compliance and Legal personnel to support those business lines. 

The Private Equity space has been particularly active in 2019, we placed multiple candidates with Private Equity clients in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington DC. 

Anti-Financial Crime

Anti-Financial Crime Compliance has been in particular growth over the last year and we saw a continued demand for strong candidates across Sanctions, Financial Investigations, Trade Surveillance, Anti Money Laundering, KYC & Enhanced Due Diligence, etc. and across various US locations, including New York, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas. 

This will undoubtably be a major growth space within Compliance in 2020, as the trend of pushing into new business lines that have higher financial crime risk attached continues.  While for many firms, this means the broader consumer banking space, there is still much hiring activity for financial crime talent within institutional client focussed businesses.   

Consumer Banking

Many of our global banking group clients have been pushing more into consumer banking and away from the previously hot institutional space.  Whether it be via digital banking and lending, mortgages, or cards, there has been a clear push in this direction for many firms who have not focussed so much on those spaces before. 

This obviously creates more opportunities for Legal & Compliance practitioners in the consumer banking and cards industries, with many big firms building out a presence in various locations across the country, which echoes the near-shoring trend discussed above.

During 2019 we started working with multiple new client firms across the US, branching further into the San Francisco, and Los Angeles markets, as well as undertaking numerous searches in Chicago, Boston, Houston, and Greenwich.  Our networks in all these markets have grown exponentially.  That said, New York City, where Danos Associates US is headquartered, continues to be very active, with lots of recruitment happening (despite the near-shoring).  

We would like to thank our new clients for some exciting and interesting projects, you made 2019 very interesting for us.  And of course, our longer-tenured clients are very important to us, and we thank you for your continued partnership.  

Going into a new decade and 2020, we feel very well-placed to help with Compliance and Legal hiring, across all the major hubs in the United States.  We very much look forward to our continued work in the US market and partnerships with some incredible clients and candidates. 

As a leading supplier of Compliance and Legal personnel to the global Banking and Financial Services Industry, we are extremely well-placed to find you the best matched candidates. We have a strong track record in Compliance and Legal recruitment from Associate level to Managing Director.  Please contact me to discuss this further or to ask any questions about the changing landscape.

23 Dec

A few months ago, we discussed why the Financial Services industry should care about achieving a diverse and inclusive workforce, and highlighted some of the benefits, including:

  • Diverse and inclusive workforces help businesses better relate to the global markets they operate within
  • Leads to higher employee satisfaction
  • More likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians

While it is great to talk about why diversity and inclusion is important, and necessary in today’s hiring landscape, the question remains as to how companies are ensuring they achieve these goals. There are many diversity and inclusion best practices that firms may use, but we wanted to highlight a few simple areas to consider, and that you can implement straight away into your hiring process.

In order to gain some insight into this topic we talked to Jennifer Brown, an award-winning diversity and inclusion, speaker and consultant, who boasts nearly 15 years of experience in this space. Her new book, How to Be an Inclusive Leader, hit the bookshelves this summer. 

Job Postings

From Jennifer’s perspective, if you want to build a diverse team of professionals, the first place to start should be the Job Posting. According to Jennifer, “Hiring requirements can be so narrow that they become biased themselves”. Her suggestion is to revaluate how you are writing job descriptions to stop unintended bias. This means eliminating gendered words like “compete”, “dominant”, or “adventurous”.

This is backed up by research from studies published in 2011, from the University of Winnipeg, by professor Danielle Gaucher, who found that “Gendered wording is common in male-dominated fields, and contributes to the division of traditional gender roles by dissuading women’s interest in jobs that are masculine worded”.

While rewording job specifications may seem like a daunting task there are tools out there like Textio, that help hiring managers analyse job postings for gendered and non-inclusive language, by judging it against a “bias meter”, which reflects how inclusive a job posting’s language is.

Firms are also finding success by inviting under-represented people to apply in the body of a job post. This simple prompt goes a long way in making a candidate feel welcome to apply.

Selection and Bias

Bias can also find its way into the candidate selection process. A 2003 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that, whether they intend to or not, recruiters tend to discriminate based on candidates’ names, and assume race/gender when screening resumes. There is an inherent tendency to “pattern match” while reviewing resumes, from Universities to previous Companies worked.

In order to eliminate bias in resume evaluation, Jennifer Brown suggests “Rethinking the reliance on the resume”. While looking at resumes, hiring managers should consider the bottom-line needs and criteria of a Company and evaluate whether a candidate has the skills to meet these needs.

Project Include, is a non-profit that uses data and advocacy to accelerate diversity and inclusion in technology recruitment. They write in their hiring guide – “Think about employing a ‘distance travelled’ metric: Where did a candidate begin their journey? Which achievements were accidents of birth and linked to privilege (e.g. an internship at a family or friend’s company) as opposed to earned in a meritocratic competition?”.

Outside of the interview and selection process, Financial Services firms have found that diversity and inclusion cannot be improved by better hiring practices alone. Therefore, Financial Services firms are investing in programs that offer mentorship and education for underrepresented groups. Programs like “Girls Who Invest”, are backed by firms like Oaktree and TPG, and strive to increase the number of women in portfolio management and executive leadership in the Asset Management industry. 

At Danos Associates we adopt at headhunting approach to our recruitment process. That means that we don’t have candidates apply directly to us. Instead, we actively go out and find candidates for each role, which means the onus is on us to find the best possible candidates for each job, using a variety of different metrics.

We take the time to meet with each candidate in person and get to know each candidate before putting them forward for your roles. We feel that we are uniquely placed to ensure we are doing our part to find diverse candidates and, in turn, the strongest candidates for each job.

We approach every search with an aim towards diversity and inclusion. While skillset and experience remain a focal point in our selection process, we strive to ensure that each shortlist reflects a diverse range of experience, culture, and backgrounds.

We pride ourselves on being able to match talent not just to the requirements of the role, but also to the style of the organisation.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your diversity and inclusion efforts and how we can assist you with your search and selection.

09 Dec

Given Danos Associates’ strength in the legal search space, we are keen to share the main talking points on an increasingly topical line of conversation with our clients. Along with our own expertise, we have collated together discussions we have had with C-suite executives and Partners in leading law firms, regarding the fundamental benefits of having an in-house legal counsel.

Reduction in legal expenditure

As your business flourishes, you may start to notice the rising legal requirements. With the increasing charge-out rates for external counsel, it is logical that you would want to find cost efficient ways of managing legal spend.

One effective way of doing this is by hiring a dedicated business lawyer.  With a lawyer working within your organisation, you could significantly cut down your legal outsourcing costs, particularly if the business needs are aligned with their area of expertise. In areas outside their remit, they are perfectly positioned to negotiate fees with external firms.

Whilst the upfront cost may seem expensive, you will be able to derive maximum value from the hire if you align the needs of your company with their expertise.

Trusted business advisor with vested interest in the growth of the business

In-house lawyers often play an integral role in the strategic planning process. It is common for a commercially astute lawyer to closely advise on the Board, contributing to the overall strategic mission of the firm.

The best in-house lawyers have in-depth understanding of the businesses they support, liaising with other support functions to achieve the objectives of the organisation.

As we have seen recently, shaky senior investor confidence can negatively impact a business. Having an in-house lawyer reassures these stakeholders that you are taking legalities and risk seriously, alongside the clear objective of having their best interests in mind, i.e. keeping their investments safe and secure.

Management of external counsel

In the instances whereby you may require work to be outsourced, Ii-house counsels are well positioned to identify the best individuals for this additional support or advice. They will easily pinpoint the legal issues and give direction to your law firms on the right legal advice needed for the given matter.

They will serve as a trusted liaison between the business and external counsel, again facilitating your firm’s best interests, whilst effectively translating any technical legalese into digestible information.

Identification and mitigation of legal risk

It is your lawyer’s job to identify, analyse and evaluate legal risks. A trusted permanent advisor will have a clear understanding of the business’ assets / product offerings, making it easier to deal with these risks.

They can work in unison with other internal stakeholders to put mitigating measures in place which in turn can limit the risk of disputes and damage to business reputation. This long-term foresight and continued monitoring will enable counsel to track risks and foresee where issues may arise, making their reactions much quicker.

In conclusion…

Hiring an internal counsel can prove extremely valuable in the long term. Focus on hiring an in-house lawyer well versed in dealing with the legal issues your business experiences daily to ensure that your outsourcing requirement is minimised.

As a leading specialist executive search firm, we have an unparalleled talent network within the Legal sector throughout EMEA, the Americas and APAC.

We pride ourselves on being able to match talent not just to the requirements of the role, but also to the style of the organisation.

If you would like to find out more, would like our support, or advice on permanent and interim resource solutions, please do get in touch.

18 Nov



What has been happening in Risk Management this year? As a specialist in risk recruitment for the financial services, I have good visibility of market movements and trends. Here are my market views and observations.

Regulatory Projects

The Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB), Basel III and Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MIFID) are regulatory projects that have been constant over the year. Going forward these projects will mainly be within FRTB and more specifically in Basel III and IRB (Internal Ratings-Based Approach) modelling within quantitative risk.

Consultancy clients are predicting a busy 2020 to support the implementation of the regulatory changes and in preparation many clients are keen to seek IRB modelers on an interim and permanent basis. The banks are starting to look at direct hires, but this is slow as their preference has been to use consultancies to provide interim support.

In December 2018, Ruaridh Brown-Hovelt, the Head of Risk at Danos Associates predicted a busy year for FRTB and gave an insight into industry views – The Questions Facing FRTB.

IBOR Reform

The need for more Interbank Offered Rate (IBOR) reform support this year has been a big trend and we expect this to continue and likely to get busier in the coming months and into 2020.

Many hiring managers across the industry on the sell side have acknowledged this and the rise in interim support for IBOR transitioning has increased. Candidates with expertise in IBOR and the understanding of how to transition to SONIA are in high demand and can potentially have multiple opportunities to choose from.

Ruaridh Brown-Hovelt, the Head of Risk at Danos Associates explains further about the transition – An update on the risk recruitment market: are you ready for SONIA?

On the buy side, only a few managers I have met during the year have flagged IBOR and the need for expert support, but those who have are very surprised at the lack of acknowledgement by the rest of buy side so far – this is an early indication that there will be further growth for specialist requirements in this area.

Technology Impact

With more functions and teams starting to find new innovative ways of implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques into risk management, the need for more technical skills is on the rise. Quantitative candidates with knowledge of certain techniques and processes like deep learning, are increasingly in demand. Especially those with practical experience of applying said techniques to credit risk and anti-fraud.

Most of the banks are restructuring and hiring in the electronic trading risk teams.  Ruaridh Brown-Hovelt, the Head of Risk at Danos Associates wrote further on this earlier in the year – Recruiting for e-trading risk functions.

This is an increasingly competitive hiring space and we foresee more opportunities being created here in the coming months.

FinTech Boom

In 2019 we have seen successful European digital banks and FinTechs expand to support these growth markets around the world, with our global offices filling roles in this space. The speed of the growth creates the need for substantial hiring to cope with the new demands and creates the need to backfill rapidly.

The growth is great for new opportunities in the market, but divides opinion from candidates and clients who have experience from your more traditional retail or investment banks, whether this is something they would or could transition into. The main hiring activity we have seen and filled has been within the framework and regulatory reporting, as well as permanent and interim senior risk positions to help lead and develop the operations.

We have worked with very early stage FinTechs often with the need for experienced resource to design and implement frameworks from scratch, as well as more established firms which have needed to increase capacity to cope with the new workloads.

Katherine Lord, Head of Danos Consulting earlier in the year explained how big the FinTech market had already become and it has only continued to grow, now on a global scale – FinTech is a key driver in the recruitment market.

Conclusion

A year filled with so much change and uncertainty in the market is usually followed by a year of increased demand and decisiveness to get on and make changes. The market has seen a busier Q4 this year, with more headcounts being signed-off and most of the hiring for much needed replacements across the board.

In 2020 we foresee the need for structural changes, expanding and tailoring of teams and functions, and we expect an even busier year across the market.

If you are keen to hear what we are currently fulfilling or our market awareness, please feel free to reach out for a confidential discussion on how we can assist you with your search or provide you with right talent and expertise.



04 Nov

Card fraud poses a major threat to the finance industry. It has been recently reported that criminals stole more than £1.2 billion through fraud and scams in the UK in 2018 alone(1). These crimes can have a devastating impact on victims. And even if the customer gets their money back from their finance provider, the organised criminal gangs which perpetrate these frauds still profit from the proceeds. This money may go on to fund illicit acts which damage our society – crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking and people smuggling.

The financial industry is committed to tackling fraud and scams, and the banking industry is proactively using technology in the fight against fraud. In September 2019 we saw the introduction of two-factor authentication, a Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirement for most electronic payments made within the European Economic Area (EEA). Under the new rules, customers making certain transactions online will now require a second level of security, such as a passcode sent via text message, or biometrics.

Biometrics is emerging as a formidable solution to support secure payment and banking options. Biometric fingerprint readers have grown in popularity and are now used in many major areas including banking, mobile phone security and as broader security controls.

Biometrics are currently being used to verify people through:

  • Facial Recognition
  • Fingerprints
  • Retinal Scans
  • Signatures
  • Voice Analysis
  • Palm Vein Identification
  • Hand Geometry

These techniques are also available but have not yet been as widely adopted:

  • Brain Waves
  • Walk Style
  • DNA
  • Heartbeat
  • Iris Scan

Using biometrics to verify identity is popular because it is convenient and reliable.

Biometric identification is in the palm of every modern smart phone users’ hands. People can unlock their devices with their face, eyes or fingerprints. But, as a result, this opens people and organisations to cyber risk and the possibility of biometric data being hacked and stolen.

Biometric data security, storage, compliance and regulation are concerns that negatively impact adoption of biometrics by consumers. With increasing numbers of data breaches year by year, people are afraid of what could happen if hackers steal their biometric data. Since a person’s biometrics cannot be changed if stolen, like a password could be, fear of losing biometric data holds back some acceptance of this technology.

The evolution of the payment and banking industries are driven by three key factors: technological innovation, regulation, and consumer adoption. In the case of biometric payment authentication replacing passwords, the technology and regulation is in place to allow for the new era of card-not-present transactions, but research suggests that consumers are not ready to relinquish their dependence on password authentication(2).

Biometrics could play an important role in the fight against financial fraud, with their uniqueness and technology ease, however the financial services industry will need to install consumer confidence by eliminating risks related to data security, usage and storage, as well as defining and implementing regulation compliance. Having the right talent who understand compliance and risk and can work alongside data scientists to drive technology innovation is paramount.

Danos Associates has over 15 years’ experience in the Payment and Fintech sectors internationally covering Compliance, Financial crime, Risk, and Legal. We leverage our knowledge of firms and individuals to help connect individuals to solve technical and regulatory issues and provide succession planning or search to fill team gaps. If you would like to discuss this article or your team, please do get in touch.

Paul Geist
Associate Partner, Compliance

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3908 4806
Email: pgeist@danosassociates.com

Ruaridh Brown-Hovelt

Associate Partner, Head of Risk and Quant Practice

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3889 5757
Email: rbh@danosassociates.com

References:

  • Fraud The Facts 2019
  • Lost in Transaction – Paysafe Group

01 Nov

Diverse and inclusive companies are more profitable and more appealing to work for than companies lacking these. Research shows that diversity will boost your reputation, your brand and your productivity.

A multi-cultural organisation will be better placed to service and satisfy clients. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t fit today’s world; being able to relate to a global market is important.

According to a landmark 2018 study from McKinsey, companies who boast gender, or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.

Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, while companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective industry medians.

From our perspective, it’s clear that firms with more diverse workforces tend be able to attract more top talent. It’s a point that many candidates ask about when discussing a potential firm, and it will only become more important to candidates as this way of thinking becomes commonplace.

Diverse and inclusive workforces lead to higher employee satisfaction and, in turn, a much better chance of retaining talent once hired. Diverse groups are a clear sign of a healthy and inclusive culture, where employees feel comfortable, valued and respected in their workplace.

A diverse and inclusive culture is imperative for a business to continue to thrive because it puts its people at the heart of its operation.

Danos Associates is a leading provider of Compliance, Risk and Legal recruitment services in the financial services arena across the Americas, EMEA and APAC.

We approach every search with an aim towards diversity and inclusion. While skillset and experience remain a focal point in our selection process, we strive to ensure that each shortlist reflects a diverse range of experience, culture, and backgrounds.

We take the time to meet and get to know each candidate before putting them forward for your roles. We feel that we are uniquely placed to ensure we are doing our part to find diverse candidates and, in turn, the strongest candidates for each job.

We pride ourselves on being able to match talent not just to the requirements of the role, but also to the style of the organisation.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your diversity and inclusion efforts and how we can assist you with your search and selection.