Danos Group
13 Feb

What will the Year of the Dog mean for recruitment in financial services?

The year of the dog promises great and positive change and market sentiment across Singapore and Hong Kong reflects this for 2018.

This New Year the rise of digital continues to influence the recruitment market in financial services. Managing Risk and complying with regulation put in place to support the ever-growing technical advancements, unsurprisingly continues to drive hiring in Risk and Compliance sectors. This, alongside a strong economy makes for a busy year ahead.

Many firms are waiting until after Chinese New Year to confirm new headcount but when they’re ready to move, a more fluid market of candidates than we’ve seen in years will be ready. The year of the dog is said to be a defining year for careers and business and we are already starting to see an impact. Those who have previously kept their heads down feel that 2018 might be the year for a fresh challenge and an increasing number of candidates are more open to exploring new opportunities.

In a competitive market place for experienced talent with emerging technical and specialist skill sets we’re seeing companies offering more persuasive compensation packages. They’re also becoming more mindful of the attraction of non-financial benefits, being more accommodating with flexible working hours and working from home requests. Some financial companies could be tempted by the pull of lower costs and centralisation benefits of expanding teams in India or China but instead are looking to develop on-shore headcount because of the higher quality of talent here in Hong Kong and Singapore.

In January, across Risk and Compliance, Buy Side firms were more active than the bigger sell side Banking groups as many pay bonuses earlier and are quicker to approve new headcount. A number of these have increased headcount in both Investment and Business Compliance. The larger Asset Managers are also looking to invest in setting up dedicated Compliance Testing and Assurance teams that previously have been more common at larger international banks. They have been hiring in Investment and Operational Risk too but the majority have been replacements.

A few international banks are looking to make senior hires in the Markets Advisory space after a number of moves last year. With increased market volatility and higher trading volumes the urgency to get these unfilled vacancies is increasing. Banking groups are also continuing to invest in hires supporting their Data Analytics and Model Validation teams with candidates in this space being in high demand.

As ever, we look out for the impact new regulation will have. A key area on our radar is regulation around Crypto-currency trading and we will be monitoring how this effects the market throughout the year.

Honest and just, a dog is looked to for their advice and help. With our unparalleled network of talent and market expertise, we are excellently placed to find top-quality candidates for your roles and exciting new challenges for candidates. Please do get in touch.

08 Feb


Over 8 million of us have been gripped by the BBC drama series McMafia. It follows the life of Alex Godman, son of a Russian mafia boss in their world of organised crime. Although fiction, it was ‘inspired’ by a non-fiction book by journalist Misha Glenny, written ten years ago. This explored the rise of the mafia following the fall of the Soviet Union and the deregulation of the financial markets in 1989. We’re now seeing a whole new wave of reality as the series has created widespread exposure of London being used as a playground for Russian gangsters and the super rich.

Earlier this week security minister Ben Wallace applauded the programme for raising public awareness of corruption. He has said that criminals would feel ‘the full force of government’, on a crackdown on Britain being used as a haven for corruption. This has led to wealthy Russian oligarchs to write to President Vladimir Putin to ask if they can return home without fear of arrest. It’s been revealed that some of the ten businessmen known to have done this had fled the country so as not to be detained there. Further applications are expected.

A movement set to tackle this has been the introduction of Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) last week. They allow the government to freeze suspicious assets worth more than £50,000 until they have been properly accounted for. Speaking to The Times, Mr Wallace said that dozens of potential targets have already been identified and that the orders ‘can be used against everyone from a local drug trafficker to an international oligarch or overseas criminal’. He went on to explain that proceeds from seized assets will fund the law enforcement against it.

It is estimated that around £90billion of illegal funds is laundered through the UK every year. The ‘Azerbaijani Laundromat’ scandal exposed last September was responsible for £2.2 billion of this alone. While financial crime is still a real issue, original writer Glenny holds hope for the future. When asked for his take on things a decade on after his investigation he said, “we now have a lot of people and a lot of organisations standing up and saying this level of corruption, these tax havens, this type of money laundering is unacceptable…(there is a) real fight on to do something about it by organisations and individuals around the world.”

Danos Associates has been placing top Financial Crime professionals for over 14 years and is the leading global provider of Financial Crime talent in Financial Services. Please get in touch if you need support in hiring good talent in this sector in Europe, Asia or America.

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7610 6442 Email: info@danosassociates.com



25 Jan

We are well into the New Year, the economy is strong and this confidence in the market creates fluidity. This, alongside the ever growing need for regulation means it is a busy time for financial services recruitment.

As the recruitment needs increase, those hiring are truly starting to feel the impact of the compensation history ban. Nearly three months in, we look at the effect it has had so far.

Addressing the gap

The philosophy behind the legislation closing the gender pay gap is, in the main, universally supported. Women were reported to be earning 20% less than men in the same job and disturbingly, women from ethnic minorities even less. Something quite rightly needed to be done to address it.

It in itself is being exploited

While we hope the new law proves to solve the imbalance, it can also be exploited for the purpose of heightened salary inflation and we have had to manage this carefully. At the more junior end of the spectrum in particular, some candidates are using the compensation ‘veil’ as an opportunity to go for larger (and previously unjustified) salary jumps.

With penalties of up to $250,000 there has been a reluctance for companies to go near discussion around salary. Add the loss of previous compensation as a guide into the equation and recruiters are finding that without proper advice, the process has been taking much longer as salary negotiations draw out. Some find out much too late in the process the extent of the gap between expectation and budget and others find themselves taking a leap of faith that they are not paying much more than they should.

Adding value for our clients

This is where we, as a recruitment specialist have found we can add even more value to our clients. While we too cannot ask about candidates’ compensation history we do have a broader knowledge of the market. With visibility of what people are being paid, going into roles across the industry, we can offer sound advice on what the right salary bracket should be. This gives our clients reassurance they are not unintentionally excessively overpaying or indeed restricting themselves from attracting the top talent by underpaying.

With this knowledge we can also have frank conversations with our candidates so they know what is fair to expect at the outset. By truly getting to know the needs, motivations and expectations of both our candidates and clients we can match the right people to the right organization.

Some are choosing to disclose

Happily, we are finding particularly with the mid to senior end of the market, candidates trust us to freely offer their previous salary information. At their level they find it beneficial to be upfront with the client, saving time if a compromise is out of reach. They feel it shows transparency and seriousness about a role. They also recognize that a company can request salary information after an offer has been made and being found to have been unfair is not the best way to start a new job.

They know being overpaid can leave them vulnerable if lay-offs are made and that it can be more difficult to move around so there is no point in trying to take advantage to push for an above market offer. Interestingly, giving their historic information can often act as a justification point to negotiate a new higher salary or show that if they are at the top end of their bracket it is because they are worth it!

Finding balance

The clients we work with are not trying to pay less than they should, they just want to know what is fair and appropriate. It is still early days and playing out but in time we are hopeful that with the help of specialist expertise, candidates who try and take advantage find balance and recruiters reach a process that works more efficiently. We all want to avoid firms feeling forced to be rigid with their bandings, not being able to offer flexibility for the most talented people.

While the eyes of the rest of the country and indeed the world are on this as a solution to a fairer working environment, we are committed to doing everything we can to help it thrive.

If you would like our support in finding the right candidates for your roles with the expertise that helps navigate the new law please do get in touch.

15 Jan

Today is supposed to be ‘Blue Monday’ – said to be the most depressing day of the year. For some, the memories and joy of the holiday festivities are fading, another New Year’s resolution may have been broken and that summer holiday is a bit too far away to offer any solace.

There’s not much we can do about that but, pseudoscience aside, if your motivational levels, lack of challenge or even bank balance are causing you distress today, we can help you make a positive step forward.

We pride ourselves on being able to match talent not just to the requirements of the role, but to the style of the organisation. This means we can be sure that the hundreds of candidates we have placed for our elite client base across the globe are happy in the right place for them.

We know that for some, depression is serious and not limited to one day so we’ll be making a donation, as part of our ongoing support to the Mental Health Charity Mind https://www.danosassociates.com/charity/

Have a good Monday everyone.

12 Jan

We head in to 2018 partnering with Justice Without Borders who share our belief that everyone is entitled to work without exploitation

We’re seeing a positive shift in attention given to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Asia. What some initially saw as a passing trend is becoming an important and opportunistic business and social change and we at Danos Associates want to ensure we continue to be at the forefront of it.

Global companies like ourselves, have been among the first to take the lead from western organisations for whom CSR has more of a long standing foundation. Since we established our business in Asia in 2012 we have been very mindful of our own staff wellbeing and development, environmental consciousness, workplace environment and contribution to society.

With a history of raising money for individual causes we want to head into 2018, growing our businesses responsibility and so have partnered with Justice Without Borders (JWB). This incredible not-for-profit organisation share our belief that everyone is entitled to work without exploitation and allows us to reach beyond our own workplace and help carve out a positive future of all employees.

While we know that we at Danos Associates and the companies we place our candidates in have strong social values, sadly the same cannot be said for everyone. Despite social issues such as human rights, worker’s rights, the environment, health and corruption being prominent in Asia, CSR has only recently become more widely recognised as a fundamental part of a businesses structure and ethos – and there is still a way to go. Despite economic growth, Asia still has the largest number of people living on less than $1 a day and with this comes social unrest and poor development of affected workforces.

For those affected at the most severe end of this scale, JWB provide direct logistic and legal support to victims of labour exploitation and human trafficking. They work closely with migrant aid organisations, university clinical legal education programmes and their law students, lawyers, and legal aid associations in targeted host and home countries.

Their work extends to the future prevention of this by documenting the learnings from cases to improve client services and to support legal and policy advocacy aimed at advancing migrants’ fundamental rights.

As a business that takes great pride and responsibility in placing candidates into the right roles, we at Danos Associates want to see a continent where every employee can feel happy, safe and fairly compensated for their work.

Justice Without Borders is holding an Annual Fundraiser Event, sponsored by us at 7pm at Fang Fang, 8/F LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, on Wednesday, January 24th 2018.

This event will gather a curated crowd of senior professionals to an exclusive evening of networking over drinks and nibbles, while raising funds for a good cause. If you would like to attend this event or want more information, please do get in touch.

03 Jan

Deadline Day. What now for our Compliance teams?

Many people up and down the country will have planned their annual leave to give them a long Christmas break. While the most taxing decision they had to make was what they could do with the leftover turkey, if you work in Compliance it’s likely you were at your desk in a final gallant push to meet the MiFID II deadline.

Now that the deadline has finally arrived, what does this mean for our Compliance teams?

This isn’t like an assignment you can hand in, breathe a sigh of relief and walk away from. Many people have come to accept this deadline as the first furlong in a long race. It simply acts as a point to show that teams have taken the regulation seriously and put clear plans and processes in place, but such is the nature of the beast, it will require further development and continuous attention.

If you feel like you aren’t 100% ready, you’re not alone. It seems that while teams have made their best endeavour to meet the requirements, realistically, many know they haven’t covered it all in its entirety. After being delayed a year, the hard deadline ESMA might have hoped would have been a ‘Big Bang’ may in fact be a medium one.

Interpretation is a word Compliance teams would have heard time and time again of late. So much of the regulation is left to a team’s understanding and how comfortable they feel being able to justify their response. Inevitably there will be variation in this and how far some firms are willing to take grey areas for competitive edge and potential to increase market share.

ESMA’s Q&A will bring clarity to these grey areas and there will be a need for those at the more relaxed or competitive end of the spectrum to adapt to avoid polite notices of shortfalls turning into fines further down the line. Then, invariably MiFID III will arrive to address the exposed loop-holes and the fun begins again.

So, there won’t be a mass ‘downing of tools’ today. Teams will be returning to the areas they hadn’t initially prioritised and revisiting and questioning the position their response puts them in from both a competitive and compliant perspective as scrutiny tightens.

From what will have dominated the schedules of many Compliance teams for some time now, the hours dedicated to this cause will start to decrease in time leaving capacity for other projects. With new waves of regulation being a fact of life in our ever changing environment and Brexit on the horizon they have a busy and interesting year ahead.

We have a team of MiFID II experts that can assess and safeguard your response and advise how the regulation can work best for you. We can provide a higher quality of practitioner at a far more competitive rate – and quickly. Please get in touch to find out more about our consulting services.

T: +44 (0) 20 7371 8332 E: dspearman@danosassociates.com