Market News

Recruitment activity across our Risk, Compliance, Audit and Legal recruitment desk has been at an all-time high in 2019. The perfect storm of a Royal Commission into the financial services sector, high levels of local enforcement action by the various Australian regulatory bodies (including multiple wealth management EU’s and the CBA AML/FCC Austrac action) and strong economic growth has resulted in an acute shortage of experienced candidates and high levels of competition between firms when attracting talent.

High levels of demand have existed across several control functions including –

  • Internal Audit – driven primarily by recruitment at Australian domestic banks. JS Careers has managed large multi-hire projects for several Australian based financial services firms. Demand has mainly existed for Manager and Senior Manager level positions, seeking either lateral hires from other financial services firms or equally from leading accounting practice firms. The international candidate pool has been heavily targeted as an option to supplement a shortage of candidates from the local market.
  • Compliance – Asset Management – JS Careers has successfully completed a number of assignments both at the Manager and Senior/Head of Compliance (including either Risk or Legal) within the Asset Management market. Expansion of the number of actual employers and also expansion of existing teams (along with several large projects requiring contract candidates) has created significant candidate shortages. Of note has been an increase in movement of candidates out of the Asset Management compliance sector into mainstream banking compliance roles, multiple moves have occurred from fund managers into institutional banking compliance teams at Australian banks. JS Careers is currently managing a number of ongoing vacancies in this space, typically with independent and/or global institutions.
  • Compliance – Markets – JS Careers has completed several Country Head (VP and Director) level compliance positions with a key focus on institutional equities and/or global markets. Candidate shortage within this space has resulted in highly competitive compensation structures being offered to attract candidates from a limited pool. Newmarket entrants (Jefferies etc) have required senior compliance resources to support their growing Australian offices. JS Careers has been fortunate enough to partner with many of these firms to bring key compliance professionals into leadership roles.
  • Compliance – Corporate Banking – 2019 has been a year of numerous applications and approvals from foreign banks looking to establish an Australian branch to service the local corporate/structured/leveraged finance sector. Several global banks have successfully achieved foreign ADI approval, a process that has normally resulted in a requirement for the appointment of a senior risk/compliance professional. JS Careers has successfully partnered with a number of global firms in assisting them with appointing an Australian CRO/Head of Compliance to manage their ongoing APRA/ASIC and AUSTRAC regulatory obligations. Candidates have typically been sought from other larger ADI’s or from professional services (accounting/law backgrounds).
  • Compliance – Control Room – Control room recruitment continues at a rapid pace in Australia. Many of the major domestic banks have all added multiple new headcount (up to 5 with some firms), along with current ongoing demand for senior control room positions at several global firms. The very small local pool of candidates employed in this space all are receiving ongoing recruitment approaches, JS Careers has been supplementing this with a global mapping exercise to attract candidates from offshore financial hubs willing to relocate to Sydney. VISA sponsorship and relocation assistance has been on offer for candidates from Hong Kong, Singapore, London, New York or other major financial centers looking to move to Australia.
  • Compliance – Wealth Management – Large project teams continue to be built at Australian wealth management firms to address both Royal Commission recommendations along with addressing ongoing/earlier enforcement action. Competing for the same candidates are the major accounting firms and other regulatory practices who are either providing advisory services, or acting on behalf of regulatory bodies as independent experts. Demand has been particularly intense for contract candidates with salary being a key tool utilised in attracting candidates with relevant expertise. Annual salary increases of 20-40% are not uncommon in this discipline, particularly for strong junior-mid level staff.
  • Compliance – Fintech/start-up/Neo-Banks – growth in this sector has been remarkable, with several highly successful firms offering alternative banking services to the traditional major lenders. As a result of successful regulatory approval, the recruitment of experienced risk and compliance professionals into this sector has been heavy. Firms operating in this space have been successful in attracting candidates from larger mainstream banks by offering a different work environment, dynamic culture and opportunity to be involved in building a risk/compliance function from the ground up.
  • Compliance AML/FCC – The large volume of hiring into the Australian banks, in particular, CBA has created a secondary market of vacancies at other local and global institutions who have lost staff to domestic banks (in some cases attracted by competitive salary packages). Intense candidate demand in this sector has resulted in many firms considering offshore candidates as a high priority given the low availability of experienced professionals locally. The international nature of AML principles and regulations has meant that experience gained in London, NY, HK and Sing is easily transferrable to Australia. Salaries in this sector have increased by a factor of approx. 25% through 2019.
  • Legal Counsel – JS Careers has managed several in-house Legal Counsel assignments across both asset management, financial markets and investment banking in 2019. Recruitment of junior (Associate) level candidates has proven particularly challenging with high volumes of approaches being required to successfully secure junior resources. Junior legal professionals are being targeted both for lateral moves between legal practice firms and are also highly sought after for in-house roles. Early promotion opportunities to Senior Associate seem to be a recruitment attraction strategy at the many PP firms hiring junior resources currently, whilst in-house opportunities tend to offer higher salaries, better work/life balance and a higher level of ownership of workflow. Vacancies requiring experienced (8+ years PQE) legal professionals have been less challenging as the candidate pool of Senior Associate candidates looking to move to in-house positions is more liquid.

For a more detailed discussion regarding your current recruitment needs or career goals, please reach out to one of our team.

  • Jacob Smith – 02 8096 9410
  • Mark Reece – 02 8096 9413
  • Ben Hunt – 02 8096 9415
  • Email Us