Hedge funds throwing cash at compliance

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Working in compliance and want to whack up your pay packet? Now may be the time to hop over to a hedge fund.

Kevin Dunleavy, head of global hedge fund strategy and client relations for Merrill Lynch, was recently reported in Financial News as saying the cost of a compliance officer in a hedge fund has gone up 30% to 40% over the past two years alone. And he's not wide of the mark, say recruiters.

It seems no one wants to work in compliance for lower paying asset management companies as a result. "Because their salary brackets cannot match what hedge funds can offer, we are seeing it can be quite hard to fill asset management vacancies," says David Chen, a compliance specialist at recruitment firm PSD Group.

"Sometimes it can take six months, while for a hedge fund, we'll have interviews lined up within a week," he adds.

Hedge funds are in particular targeting compliance officers with strong product knowledge, or whose experience is aligned to a particular product area, says Zoe Breadman, consultant at recruitment firm IMS.

She estimates that vice president-level compliance officers are now able to command salaries of between 50k and 75k at hedge funds, plus bonuses.

Even compliance officers with a mere one to two years' experience can expect to be on between 30k and 45k at hedge funds, with a guaranteed bonus around the 14k mark, says Chan.

By comparison, in asset management the range at this level is more likely to be around 23k to 40k, according to recruiter Robert Walters.

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