Danos Group
29 Oct

We’ve talked a lot in the past about diversity in compliance. This is a sector that has fared well where others in financial services have faced criticism, particularly in the light of the Gender Pay Gap (GPG) results. Now we turn to risk.

We have seen a notable trend in the drive to find more females within risk management jobs, particularly in the quantitative area where there is a current lack of women relative to other areas of risk.

We want to show the sceptics that the hiring of women extends beyond a knee jerk reaction to the GPG fall out, simply remedying a PR issue and fulfilling a quota. And further still, address the generalisation that the commercial benefits that come from diversity are due to the stereotype of women being calm and cautious while men are egotistical and prone to excessive risk-taking.

Exploring the hypothesis: Diversity = profitability + security

The financial crisis of 2007 has brought with it a decade of surmising how it could have been avoided. Multiple studies have been carried out testing various measures of financial performance, all concluding that gender diverse firms have outperformed those dominated by males. A study entitled ‘Braving the Financial Crisis: An Empirical Analysis of the Effect of Female Board Directors on Bank Holding Company Performance’ published in March 2016 went as far to say that not only did the bank holding companies see a direct correlation with the number of female directors and performance but those with at least three female directors ‘braved the crisis better’.

A common theory suggests that ‘groupthink’, the psychological phenomenon that occurs when a group conform to the same point of view is to blame. While this is great for group harmony it is detrimental to a fully considered decision.

It is this variety that is key. Throughout our extensive network we have met thousands of men and women who have a unique set of characteristics and skills that make them brilliant at what they do. Attributes such as tenacity, communication, attention to detail, logic and foresight are not defined by gender but an individual.

The problem, and what these studies have picked up on is that where critical decisions are being made by a wholly homogeneous group, strains of commonality can culminate. How much a person’s age, gender or ethnicity affects their experience and perspective will vary but it is this set of unique perspectives that can change the dynamics of a decision making process and overcome an unconscious bias.

What does this mean for the future of diversity in risk?

On International Women’s Day, the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) gathered 20 risk professionals (male and female) to discuss gender diversity. They, like us have noted that more than ever, women are choosing careers in risk management, particularly in the quantitative field but that it ‘thinned considerably the further up the management ladder’.

It is for businesses now to determine how they can keep women in their organisations and we are seeing positive moves in this space. Many firms are starting career development initiatives and are having meaningful conversations about creating a culture where everyone feels heard and that they have equal opportunities. Importantly and increasingly we are seeing firms consider flexible working which is a critical factor for women who are returning to work after having a family. If this continues to gain momentum, we will start to see more women in leadership positions and this in itself will help shape our future organisations’ diversity cultures.

We see how important diversity is and financial services, like any other sector rely on performing to the best of their ability. With a wider market and more diverse talent pool, less emphasis will be put on stereotypes. We never want a person to have to question whether they have (or indeed haven’t) been successful in getting a role for anything other than the measure of their skills, expertise and character.

We have a unique view point of diversity in the risk market. If you would like our advice, I’d be happy to discuss this with you.

18 Oct

The market is…competitive

The market is still very competitive – arguably back to pre-2015 levels where we saw a period of hyperinflation. This led to a surge of recruiters flooding the market but they have since fallen away. Only those like us, who truly know the market were able to anticipate the changes in it and remain. How many of the recruiters that you were speaking to at the beginning of your compliance career are still working in this area? Fewer calls shouldn’t be confused with fewer jobs.

The market is…changing

The roles in compliance are no longer Business as Usual. In a drive for a safer banking system, focus is now on prevention and not the cure. Roles seem to be becoming hybrids of Technology, Data and Advisory – all areas that can aid predicting and solving issues before they cause any damage.

Consulting businesses seem to be doing less work on remediation projects such as KYC, PEP, EDD and CDD and we are seeing a big uptick in internal investigations and policy driven work. We must remain mindful that this can all change very quickly with the identification of a lenient compliance process or even a large fine.

We are in the maturing stages of the compliance recruitment cycle but it doesn’t mean that there is less hiring, it just means that certain (or indeed new) skills are more in demand.

The market is…strong

Singapore is an important financial hub and being compliant is crucial to this. Recent events with the Prime Minister in Malaysia have shown how detrimental economic scandals can be and how important it is to operate a banking environment people can trust. This keeps compliance as one of the key pillars in the financial services sector which is at the heart of Singapore’s thriving economy. This makes it highly unlikely that the most important and senior roles in compliance will ever leave its shores.

In today’s world of work, all areas of business have become even more competitive, however compliance in Singapore offers the best chance of career advancement. A large number of candidates we have worked with have received promotions within 12 months of joining their prospective companies. Good compliance people are always in demand and never without a job for long.

The market…should be understood

A good compliance person needs to stay ahead of the game by keeping on top of the changes in the market. Technological advancement and process change are as important as the regulation itself.

Compliance in Singapore has a wider scope in certain areas so it’s important to be in the right crowd; Private Banking Compliance, FICC Compliance and the growing Buy Side and AM sectors as South East Asia continues its economic miracle.

Reading consultation papers and keeping abreast of financial news are key but recruiters are also an excellent source of information. I have a great insight into the market and would be very happy to keep you up to date. I can be reached on +65 6233 6871 or adnanmaddix@danosassociates.com.

03 Oct

Various factors are propelling the Luxembourg finance recruitment market to the point of almost overheating! Of course, one of these is the infamous (and by now somewhat boring) Brexit, but for the last several years before this was even thought of, things were moving in the same direction: a candidate-led market with high levels of competition for locally-experienced and qualified finance professionals and a need for increasingly innovative solutions to improve staff attraction and retention.

Employers have been dealing with this in different ways, including by increasing salaries (A Financial Controller in real estate can now expect to be paid between €80k and €120k, where only fairly recently €75k to 100k might have seemed more usual) and by improving working environments. It is noticeable that one well-known local Luxembourg service provider has hugely reduced staff turnover by systematically introducing flexible working practices, improving the physical office environment and shedding senior staff with inflexible management styles.

Other novelties have begun to appear in the Luxembourg market which are reminiscent of the London investment banking sector prior to the financial crisis – it is now not unknown to see the departure of senior staff with almost complete teams of loyal juniors en masse. Why is this? Possibly because for the first time the market-mapping strategies of City headhunters are being applied large-scale in Luxembourg.

Of course there are many positions which can only ever be filled with locally recruited staff familiar with local reporting and other legal requirements, speaking local languages etc. however, it is noticeable that there is now an increasing trend to seek staff in other markets, perhaps where Luxembourg-based structures are already serviced, such as Eastern Europe and the Baltic states and also in EU countries where qualified, English-speaking staff are to be found, such as Greece and Cyprus.

One of the main developments we are seeing in large clients with a constant high-volume need is for candidates to be systematically recruited from so-called ‘third’ countries outside the EU. Suitably-qualified and experienced finance professionals from Mauritius, India, South Africa and the Philippines are increasingly sought-after by companies who have developed a well-oiled HR machine with all the expertise needed to obtain the relevant permits within 4 weeks. This is the minimum length of time it would normally be necessary to wait for a candidate to complete their notice period in any case.

At Danos Associates we have the habit of recruiting from a global talent pool to fulfil local needs and can apply search and market-mapping methods to solve your recruitment problems at the normal market rate. For more details please contact James Bernie at jbernie@danosassociates.com or on +44 207 010 1154.

20 Sep

It has been a year of huge change for compensation levels across the market, with Magic Circle firms elevating rates in response to moves in the US law firm world.  Clifford Chance now pays its NQs £91,000 with Freshfields now being the lowest paying at this level on £85,000.  The escalator in Magic Circle compensation is not entirely accurate as the published rates are not always what ends up being paid to Associates.  By 3 years’ PQE, Associates are typically on at least £105,000 with the advertised rate at Magic Circle firms at this level being circa £110-115k.  The ceiling on compensation for more senior candidates in the Magic Circle has also risen dramatically with Counsel rates exceeding £200,000 in the majority of cases.

US firms have undergone a salary and bonus war and consequently there is now a more significant disconnect between these and in-house rates and, where one previously saw a number of moves for lawyers not taking any base salary cut to make a move, this no longer happens and lawyers should now expect a pay-cut for moving in-house.  Lawyers at Weil Gotshal, for example, are on £115,000 at newly qualified level, escalating to £140,000 at 3 years’ qualified.  By 6 years’ PQE, lawyers are often on £170k plus base salary.  We note in particular a dramatic increase in the number of cases where people are “bumped up” a class year in joining a US firm (so that a 2 year PQE could be treated as 4 years PQE and paid £170k base salary notwithstanding the appropriate rate on the scale being lower). US firms have long led the way in terms of overheating salary levels in a boom market and this year has been no exception, with Associate pay rocketing.

We have seen huge growth in demand for Global Markets positions this year across product lines, with a marked resurgence in derivatives lawyer activity.  We have also seen cyclical activity in the early part of the year in corporate real estate, which has since dried up and strong, on-going demand for private equity lawyers.  Whereas the sell side have been in the market in numbers, buy-side activity has weakened very slightly relative to 2016/17.

We are in the process of compiling a more detailed salary survey. To participate click here.

14 Sep

The recruitment industry is changing. Complexities of roles undertaken in financial services are evolving and the geographical area in which they operate is expanding – so we adapt.

When a role needs to be filled, Hiring Managers are faced with various options: keep the process in house, instruct a big, volume-based agency or work with a specialist headhunter.

We’ve been reflecting on all the feedback we receive from our clients and candidates and it has allowed us to set out three key reasons for choosing the specialist route.

We complement in-house teams, finding quality candidates for their most challenging roles

Some roles are simply hard to find the right candidates for. It could be geography, a shallow talent pool for a specific specialism or a particularly competitive practice area, so many of our clients turn to us to fill the roles they can’t.

“We’re struggling with this one, let’s get them in”

We take a consultative approach, working in partnership with in-house recruiting teams and Hiring Managers to support them in finding the very best person.

We build relationships

We focus on actively seeking and building relationships with people who work in our specialist areas…we are headhunters. Our candidates are often surprised when we want to take them out to meet with them but this allows us to discover so much more than what is written on a CV.

This wider knowledge of not only their experience and expertise, but their character and motivation allows us to make the strongest match to a role. This is particularly crucial for specialist or senior positions.

“I don’t feel like just a name on a CV being pushed through a process with you”

Our relationships are long-lasting and give us the unparalleled network that we have.  Our track record means our clients trust us. Rather than focus on volume we do what we do well and have a higher rate of placing candidates because of it.

We know the market

Hiring requirements can be very specific with huge importance put on bringing the right person into the team.

By focussing on specialist sectors within the financial services we can truly be experts in the field. A lot of our clients appreciate our input in defining the role from the very beginning and tell us we add weight as an expert voice to their Execs throughout the process.

We know who to look for and how to reach them, headhunting and presenting only the best quality candidates back to the client.

“All of the CVs were spot on”

Whether is be a specific senior hire or niche skill set you’re looking for, we have the expertise and network to support you in your search.