Danos Group
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

21 Dec

In multi-national organisations that many of us work in, where colleagues are heading home for their supper while we brace ourselves for a busy day ahead, we couldn’t help but wonder – who works harder?

Do us Brits spend hours a day making cups of tea? Do Americans really spend their Fridays in the summer in the park? Do our counterparts in Asia really have a public holiday every other week?

At Danos Associates, with offices in Europe, Asia and America, we put the question to our teams.

But first, let’s look at the facts. Statistics show that people in Hong Kong work the longest hours* – on average 50.1 a week! Americans are said to work on average 38.6 hours a week and the UK 36.5.

But does hours worked equate to productivity? Apparently not. In fact, countries topping the poll on Index Points; Mexico, New Zealand and Ireland to name a few all have average and below average weekly working hours.

In fact, it’s the amount of hours worked that are leading some to question Asia’s productivity and there are calls for setting limits on their maximum hours. Exhaustion and stress account for higher numbers of sick days, errors, accidents, fatigue and even total burn out.

Fortunately for our American colleagues, we’ve heard (and I’m sure this is the minority of course) they have a trick or two up their sleeves when it comes to taking a little breather at work. If you fancy popping out for a coffee, just put your jacket on the back of your chair and your colleagues will just think you’re doing something very important elsewhere in the office.

And, when they only get two weeks holiday a year who can blame them? Two weeks is standard for most juniors to start on, and it can take a while to work up to the 20 days most people enjoy as a minimum in the UK. Americans can often feel guilty about taking holiday to the extent they worry that it will reflect negatively on them.

No wonder public holidays are such a huge thing. There’s even a day – Labor Day, dedicated to honouring the achievements of workers. But could celebrating the likes of 4th July, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas with such gusto cause a distraction? While we’re cheekily trying to pick apart who works the hardest it seems that any checking out in the run-up and aftermath of a major holiday is made up by working at 100mph and being super productive either in preparation for or out of guilt after a major holiday. Fortunately it would seem, given the hours worked, it is our Asian friends who are the real winners when it comes to public holidays with a whopping 16 to our 8 the UK and 10 in America.

What about the working day? While we in the UK trek in to the city from the leafy suburbs, up to 2 hours each way where a snowman can sneeze and throw the transport system into chaos, Asian workers commutes tend to be better placed to see them arrive at work on time. It is still expensive to live near the cities but other costs are lower which means that more people can afford to live closer to work – that and their transport system is arguably more reliable.

And the hours? Our American friends seem to be sitting in the best spot when it comes to time-zones dictating working hours with a more affable day starting at 7am until 4.30/5pm. Our Asian colleagues however have to work into the night to be available for conference calls or to respond to decisions from their overseas offices. The American’s end of day seems to be a hard-stop with a mass exodus as the clock strikes 5 while in the UK many of us are guilty of working way into the evening.

And lunch? While office workers in the UK are a nation of people who eat at their desks, our Asian colleagues are most likely to take a lunch break, particularly in Singapore, and often up to 2 hours! If we were surrounded by authentic Asian cuisine perhaps we would do the same.

Asia isn’t alone with it’s productivity coming under fire. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) UK productivity has fallen since 2007. With Brexit hanging over us and the uncertainty this is causing, many companies haven’t been investing in tools and processes that can make us more efficient. Another area cited as an issue is lower educational standards in scientific and technical fields. One would think that as a wealthy country and home to some of the best universities in the world, our talent pool would be plentiful but compared to other countries we do see shortages in engineering, software, data analysis and IT. Our engagement is also said to be a problem. In a recently survey by research firm ORC International, the UK was second from last when it comes to engagement. It seems we don’t feel encouraged to be innovative and fewer than half of us feel valued at work. Poor leadership was said to be a key factor.

So, who works the hardest?

Hours would suggest Hong Kong, productivity would say New Zealand.

Jane from New York would say America, John from London would say UK and Chan in Hong Kong would say Hong Kong.

We know that Economists and statistics show that more hours doesn’t necessarily equate to more productivity. The French have even recently introduced a new law banning out of hours work emails in this vein.

We’ve seen that how hard a person can work is impacted by many things and better results won’t be derived by simply cracking the whip harder. While there are factors that are unique to industries and countries, things that are crucial for productivity across the globe are investment, innovation, training, efficient processes and quality and motivating leadership.

We must be working hard. We see hardworking and talented individuals all around us and we’re driving our economies forward – even through turbulent times.

Enjoy your holidays everyone – you deserve it!


Statistics sources:

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Trading Economics

China Daily Asia

*Hours worked include full-time and part-time workers, excluding holidays and vacation time.

07 Dec

Statistics released by the Law Society show that the number of solicitors working in-house is growing at a faster rate than those in private practice. Our Associate Partner and Head of Legal Practice James Limburn looks at the 7 reasons why.

1. Feeling part of the bigger, commercial picture and working with a wider range of people

Many lawyers who move in-house really enjoy having the opportunity to work with different departments. Not only are they exposed to new people, personalities and skill-sets but they get to see the impact of the advice they give in practice. Furthermore, they work closely with Senior Management. Because of the collaborative environment, they develop business skills and are often brought into decision making as their commercial input becomes valued as well as their legal advice. This makes them feel part of the wider business strategy and commerciality. In private practice this level of exposure is rare and their part in the overall business is more ambiguous. Finally, lawyers in private practice can often get given work midway through a deal, just for part of a deal or only when there is an issue. In-house however, lawyers get the fulfilment of seeing something through from start to finish. It is also easier for them to pinpoint areas or projects where they have made a real difference and see how that has contributed to positive performance.

2. Escape the pressure of billable hours and business development

A private practice lawyer’s survival, salary and career progression rely heavily on their amount of billable hours and consequently the need for business development. Not only does this fuel the exhaustion that comes from working long hours but it takes lawyers away from what they are trained to do and forces them into a sales role, which doesn’t always sit comfortably and of course means even more time working. This simply doesn’t exist in-house – you are the client. The internal client is always there and the company pay your salary for your technical and commercial acumen, not for sales or being on the clock 24/7. Those who are motivated by their financial contribution can still get a sense of reward through their impact on the P&L by contributing to product structuring and development and further still through their legal efficiency resulting in cost savings.

3. Career progression

Private practice lawyers are seeing ever increasing competition for partnership while in-house lawyers are enjoying broader career opportunities. In a law firm, the career path is relatively one dimensional, starting as an associate and then the lengthy slog to Partnership. This can be a long road, with an end that is not guaranteed. In-house there are a variety of long-term career opportunities with moves between practice disciplines and even to the business side. Promotions happen more frequently and are easier to attain.

4. Better work-life balance

You don’t have to look too far in a private practice to see someone who has slept under their desk, had to cancel a holiday, worked the weekend or missed their child’s bedtime again this week. While they are putting in at least 1800 chargeable hours a year (plus time spent on business development and training), in-house lawyers agree that by only having one client to serve, while they may need to work additional hours during busy periods, they have shorter working days and more control over their schedules. By truly getting to know both our clients’ and candidates’ needs, we match talent not just to the requirements of the role, but to the style of the organisation and the culture our candidates want to be part of.

5. Greater variety of work

Private practice lawyers can find themselves working in isolation and focusing on one area of law. While some may like specialising, in-house lawyers develop a greater breadth of knowledge and enjoy the variety this brings. Expertise can still come with really being able to get under the skin of the client and the deeper insight this allows. Working for a large, global company brings with it exciting, high-profile and sophisticated work that isn’t necessarily accessible to private practice.

6. Job stability

The number of organisations moving legal in-house is growing as the greater control and economic benefits become clearer. This only adds to the difficultly private law firms have finding new clients. Add to this, some of the high profile private practice failures and the increasingly stable economic conditions for companies, law firms can no-longer be seen as the secure option.

7. Bridged salary gap

It is a common misconception that in-house lawyers earn markedly less than their counterparts over in private practice. This is dependent on the company and the position and where the salary is less, stock options and bonuses can often more than bridge the gap. For many, where time has always been money, they begin to view this in a different light as they value more time with their loved ones.

It is important for legal professionals to consider how they hope their career will progress and what elements of their working and non-working lives they value the most. If for you, this tips the scale to in-house in the financial services I’d be very happy to help you make this move.




04 Dec

2017 has been a big year for Risk and ever increasing regulation and regulatory change continues to drive hiring across all disciplines of Risk Management.

Our Associate Partner and Head of Risk and Quant Practice Ruaridh Brown-Hovelt has extensive experience in recruitment across Credit, Market and Quant Risk as well as Regulatory and Operational Risk. Here he shares his thoughts on some of the growth areas and the impact this will have on recruitment.

There are several key factors we are seeing driving hiring requirements including Full Review Trading Book, General Data Protection Regulation and Cyber Risk and of course, we brace ourselves for the impact Brexit will have.

Data data data…


By addressing how banks record and estimate risk FRTB will force them to be more innovative with their internal models, close the net on tail risk and tackle loop-holes between banking and trading books. While banks are taking this very seriously, we have yet to see quite the level of associated recruitment many expected and anticipate this will start to come through next year.

One area where requirements have become very apparent is Non-Modellable Risk Factors (NMRF). This is due to the sheer volume of work required, the inherent capital costs and the complexity of work needed in attempting to control the seemingly uncontrollable. This will continue to increase resource requirements as the deadline (2022 but with a year of backtesting required ahead of that) for model approval moving to the desks gets ever nearer. A key requirement for a number of our clients is for more balanced quantitative profiles with experience of working with large data sets, and ideally AI/Machine Learning balanced with a knowledge of market risk and inherent regulations.

In addition, and also as a result of FRTB, we are seeing a continued requirement for expertise in risk frameworks and roll out processes.


Data has wider ramifications for hiring across Risk with the approach of GDPR. In a time where protection against some of the eye-watering financial penalties can affect bank’s bottom lines as much as their revenue generation, GDPR is more important than ever.

A key effect on Risk hiring relates to strengthening 3rd party, outsourcing and vendor risk. Firms will be responsible for ‘passed on’ data and ensuring that those third parties are also compliant.

Operational Risk and Cyber Risk

The recent stress test results demonstrate the ever increasing importance of managing non-financial risks for banks. As most banks capital positions generally appear to be in a more acceptable place, the onus is now more on industry change and how it impacts on operational models. Operational Risk will continue to be a key area in the competition for talent with demand expanding beyond the recent focus which has been more around expertise on frameworks. There will continue to be a need for candidates with first line Risk experience for markets focused Operational Risk roles, where an understanding of the products and Risk from a business perspective trumps traditional Operational Risk experience.

All too often cyber-attacks and data leaks hit the headlines. It’s not only financial services under threat, we’ve recently seen high profiles cases with well-known brands such as the NHS, Tesco Bank, Uber, Yahoo, BUPA and Three. With cyber-attacks doubling at the start of 2017, the problem isn’t going away. The predicament only evolves as the growth of our reliance on all things digital collides with the growth of the intensity and sophistication of the threats.

There is a need to strengthen the operational framework, not just the technical. To manage the risk, banks need technical teams that are smarter and faster than the criminal’s as they attempt to stay one step ahead. Smart banks are adding a second layer of protection by preparing to accept and transfer the risk. They accept that there may be an outcome where they can’t keep their ‘front door’ secure and engage another area of risk to source suitable insurance policies.


All of these areas require firms to become more innovative in their approach to Risk Management and Processes. AI and Machine Learning techniques and harnessing advances in technology are key to achieving this.

We know there is a wave of Programmers, Quant Specialists and Data Scientists coming from our universities but knowing your way around algorithms and data isn’t always enough for the crucial roles born from Risk Management. Proven ability of applying AI and Machine Learning techniques in a practical environment and furthermore with a deeper knowledge of the Risk models and processes and the regulations themselves is where the cream of the crop lie. Such a unique skill set is a competitive space for banks, management consultancies and recruiters alike.

Beyond the banks, this is also a significant battle ground for the consultancies for both talent and market share. The continued rise of boutique consultancies offering niche and highly technical services to Risk functions at a lower client cost and with longer partner level engagement, allows opportunities for both recruiters and candidates.

These are creative roles, so we can be creative in our approach to identifying the best talent. We’re identifying suitable industries where we believe talented individuals can transition across, in particular the Fintech space and from other sectors where Non-Financial Risk is more of a focus.

And finally, Brexit…

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. There aren’t many walks of life where this isn’t a hot topic of conversation. Our clients need to consider; how will regulation change? How will differences in regulation work in multi-national organisations, in particular with Domestic Regulation and Employment Policy? Will companies and teams move outside of the UK? Will this affect longer term off-shoring strategies? Will these countries have the talent needed? One thing is for sure, financial services firms have Brexit programmes marked as high priority and this will inevitably affect hiring. We have been preparing for this in a number of ways. One example is developing talent pools of candidates with specific skill sets who are willing to relocate to certain locations, so we can be ready to respond to recruitment needs as Brexit negotiations and firm’s responses become clearer.

As long as technology creates opportunities, it will create threats – and the need to manage Risk. The speed of change is huge and there will be no end to regulation being introduced and evolving to keep pace. As long as there is Risk there will be a need for talented teams to keep our banks and investors safe and HR teams and recruitment specialists must be prepared for the increase in volume and complex layers of skills that this requires.

If you would like to discuss your Risk hiring requirements I’d be very happy to help. I can be contacted on 020 3889 5757 or at rbh@danosassociates.com.

20 Nov

As we near the end of 2017 and look back at another record-breaking year at Danos Associates, an area we are particularly proud of is the diversity of our placements and the integral role women have proved to play in the Compliance sector.

While Compliance and Regulation has always been one of the more diverse areas of Financial Services, we have seen a significant shift away from the male dominated Senior Leadership Teams towards women holding the Chief Compliance Officer roles with Lara Warner at Credit Suisse, Sarah Smith at Goldman Sachs, Ruth Horgan at HSBC, Georgina Fogo at BlackRock and Laura Padovani in an interim position at Barclays.

This is reflected in our own placements with just over 60 percent of our Compliance roles from AVP to Global MD going to women. Perhaps it is the talented role models we are seeing in the major Global Financial Services Organisations that are inspiring more and more women to seek leadership roles in this field. Furthermore, women who move into Compliance from other fields are, for the first time, enjoying the benefits of working in more balanced teams. Studies have shown that diverse working groups are more successful and smart companies realise that there is a real commercial benefit to this, way beyond simply satisfying diversity quotas.

When speaking with our clients and candidates we are excited to hear that there is a real shift in how diversity and inclusion, not just with gender but ethnicity and age is being looked at. It is no longer just a topic of discussion, but something that is fully ingrained in their business and the results are clear to see.

Here at Danos Associates, our success is built on truly understanding the needs of our elite client base and of the candidates we place. We are always keen to speak to people looking to make the next move in their career. In cases where this is a return from maternity leave, we know that some mothers can feel apprehensive about what this means for their career progression. We whole-heartedly value the contribution and motivation of women who want to return to work and have a strong network of clients who share this recognition and are committed only to hiring the best talent. This year alone we’ve placed candidates who have had extended career breaks of three, five and even up to six years.

I, as Partner and Head of Compliance at Danos Associates am one of the leading recruiters in the industry and have successfully placed Compliance candidates at all levels across Financial Services both in the UK and internationally. If you would like to talk to me about your career goals or if you know anyone who is looking to return after an extended career break I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at dspearman@danosassociates.com or on +44 (0) 20 7371 8332.