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Risk-Related IT Spending on the Rise

Investment banks are pouring money into risk-related IT software, driven in part by regulatory requirements on two continents.

The study, conducted by research firm Datamonitor, examines the spending plans of over 100 firms in the U.S. and Europe. It suggests they intend a "significant increase" in their risk management-related IT spending this year.

Recruiters confirm a companion leap in hiring. "We are seeing quite a huge demand for all (risk management) areas," says Rob Lycett, an IT consultant with London recruitment firm Astbury Marsden.

Lycett says both risk and compliance-related IT roles - especially those with links to Basel II, Sarbanes-Oxley and the ever-looming Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) in Europe - are in high demand as firms continue to grapple with the onslaught of new regulations.

Jason Kerkman, partner at Comprehensive Recruiting in Tempe, Ariz.,, describes the market as growing "tremendously," with demand focused on experienced candidates who can come in as risk analysts and project managers. He sees pay rising around 10 percent to 15 percent annually.

At least in Europe, banks want to bring people in on a permanent basis, Lycett says. The shortage of skilled staff means they're prepared to accept business analysts with no prior MiFID experience. "Anyone with basic knowledge of business analysis can pick up MiFID after spending some time in the classroom," he notes. Insurance and pharmaceutical firms are popular hunting grounds.

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