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15 Nov

Market Intelligence Report




Brexit planning continues at pace with a number of UK headquartered firms retaining Danos Associates to find them compliance and financial crime talent across Europe.  In the last 6 months we have recruited in Dublin, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris.

The London Market remains very busy with most firms actively recruiting new and replacement hiring. The London Compliance Private Equity sector has seen lots of activity with numerous senior appointments being made and the alternatives market as a whole in 2018 has been extremely buoyant with top firms attracting talent from Investment Banking especially. Consultancies continue to build bench strength for upcoming regulatory projects including SMCR.

Notable hiring is occurring within compliance across the fintech sector including cryptocurrency. Three senior financial crime appointments have been made in recent months continuing the trend of significant investment into financial crime controls at the large banking groups. UBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have all made notable appointments.

The FCA has created a webpage on temporary authorisation to give firms more flexibility in not making final decisions until they know the UK situation. This has not stopped firms taking decisions and making changes. The FCA has also published a thematic review on money laundering and terrorist financing risk in the e-money sector and we have seen the sector start to review and make changes to their structures.


Electronic trading risk teams are being built out further at several leading investment banks both in London and New York. Quantitative research is in demand for both risk and the front office, especially candidates at AVP / VP level with x-asset experience.

Data science and machine learning (especially deep learning) expertise is also in demand across risk and the front office at banks, consultancies fintechs and buy-side firms creating significant competition with premiums for the better candidates. Fintech risk hiring is also active on the operational side and credit analysis. There has been a significant increase in roles in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Dublin.


Brexit overview

We found that there was a lot of activity in the legal job market at the start of 2018 in line with the trends extrapolated from 2017. As we approach the end of the year, we are observing a marginal decrease in permanent hires in contrast to consultant hires. There has been an increase in the need for senior consultants for various projects relating to contingency planning for when the UK exits the EU.

Since the beginning of summer 2018, we have seen an increase in demand for permanent senior hires across key financial hubs in Europe, particularly in Frankfurt, Dublin, Luxembourg and Paris. Demand outweighing the supply has caused competition for the best talent out there, increasing the need for financial services institutions to pay close to London market rates and benefits. We have also noticed increasing interest in London trained/based lawyers for roles in these financial hubs, supplementing the work force required in these cities.

These moves have been mirrored by the law firms – Simmons & Simmons is the third international firm to be launched in Dublin since the Brexit vote and Dentons have recently opened a fourth office in Dusseldorf to further fortify their presence in Germany.

In addition to the growth in continental Europe, the law firms in London have continued to see buoyant growth on the lateral hiring front. US law firms continue to dominate, with even those offices that rarely hire increasing headcount in strategic areas. It has been refreshing to hear positive news with regards to deal flow in the market with few partners stating any slowdown due to Brexit woes. Finance and dispute resolution hiring has been abundant as per previous, with steady M&A/PE growth and even some long-awaited movement within ECM. Interestingly, with the exception of a few high-profile team moves, the much anticipated surge in hiring within the restructuring area has been grossly under represented with few firms racing to expand.

Competitor information for 2018/2019 hiring plans

We anticipate that permanent legal hires in London will continue at the current pace through to the end of 2019. Most financial services institutions are gearing up for a surge in the number of consultant hires to enable them to fulfil the necessary requirements for the March 29 deadline and to deal with the post-Brexit transition. In relation to hiring in other European financial hubs, we expect an increase in permanent hires, inverse to the hiring plans of the same organisations in London at a similar time. Organisations are planning to hire senior lawyers into these offices first to deal with the immediate aftermath of Brexit, then steadily boost the number of lawyers over time.

In the private practice market, we expect to see the steady hiring of lateral partners continuing well in 2019. The general consensus being that firms will continue to ride the tide while it is high. However, with the area sensitive to market tremors, further signs of a ‘no deal Brexit’ as well as deep concerns regarding the global economy as a whole, may mean we see firms begin to aggressively bulk up their countercyclical offerings in order to hedge themselves against a market downturn.


The market in Hong Kong and Singapore remains busy despite heading towards year end. Whilst there has been growth in headcount in some buy-side firms as well as new entrants in fintech and regtech the majority of recent roles have been replacements.

With a steady stream of moves at all levels of seniority within compliance and financial crime, this musical chairs is set to continue into the New Year. Whilst some junior to mid-level moves are driven by salary increases and career progression, many of the more senior movements are a reflection of changes in direction and focus of both financial services firms and their compliance and regulatory approaches.


Financial crime has remained a growth area in the US, with many sell-side firms continuing in the general build-out across the space to upskill and increase capacity.  Others react to regulatory scrutiny and go out to the market with senior mandates to increase their capacity.

The quarter has seen a trend of hiring within regulatory relations across sell-side firms.  With there still being no common format for the function between peer firms across the industry, it remains a topic of conversation.  Most firms have been hiring within this space this summer.

The buy-side has seen notable movement at all levels with the usual migrations at more senior levels continuing, in addition to an interest in this side of the market from the mid – junior end of the market too.  With many buy-side firms building out more robust compliance functions, opportunities are being created at most levels.