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14 Jan

US Compliance Hiring Round-up and a look to 2020

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.

  • Author

    Grant Potter

    Partner, Head of Americas

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