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Risk Management Jobs in Chicago

As the credit markets continue to deteriorate and large financial institutions tighten controls, a number of Chicago firms are seeking risk management professionals in many specialties.

"Risk management is certainly an area where there is hiring," says Gene Starr, president of New York-based E. D. Starr & Company, a recruiting firm that specializes in management consulting and risk management. "Risk management is counter-cyclical and right now there is a strong need." He sees positions open in Chicago, but notes hiring is strong nationwide.

"Risk management right now is certainly booming," agrees Stuart Rosenthal, vice president of compliance at Legend Global Search, Inc., another New York City recruiting firm that works frequently in Chicago. "There are jobs and soon (there'll) be more."

Areas of Need

Risk management is an important function in numerous types of firms and in various areas including credit, market risk, and enterprise risk management.

While demand is declining in trading and structured products, says Starr, there has been an uptick in hiring in areas of portfolio-level risk management and enterprise risk management. Needs go "beyond mortgages," as most financial institutions are assessing capital usage, capital allocation and other risk factors, says Starr.

Positions are open both within financial institutions and accounting firms that serve them. The Big Four firms have numerous positions listed online, including openings for jobs such as Quality & Risk Management Manager, Enterprise Risk Management Advisors, and Business Risk Services Manager.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is also seeking candidates for Risk Management Specialists.

Another recruiter, who declined to be named, has seen several positions for risk management in foreign exchange. In the FX market, candidates may be responsible for credit, market, and enterprise risk.

Toward More Regulatory Pressure

Trading firms and hedge funds, which are numerous in Chicago, are "not as far along the curve as major banks," on the risk management side, says Starr. On one hand, they haven't suffered the losses banks have due to credit problems. On the other, he sees an industry-wide trend toward stricter regulations in risk management. "Basel II, the Federal Reserve and the SEC are placing increasing emphasis on best practices in risk management," he says. Banks and broker-dealers are feeling the pressure and he suspects trading firms, hedge funds, and asset management firms may also come under increased examination in the future.

One compliance officer at a Chicago broker-dealer confirms Starr's hunch, saying his firm is seeing increased scrutiny.

Ideal Candidates

Because risk management jobs differ considerably depending on the firm and area of specialization, insiders say it's hard to generalize about what constitutes an ideal job candidate. However, Starr says most firms seek qualified professionals who have been in the field since getting out of college or business school. "It's not an easy profession to just step into," he says. In general, employers are looking for candidates who have experience, great problem solving and financial modeling ability, and strong written and verbal communication skills.

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AUTHORSuzanna de Baca Insider Comment
  • ga
    gacon60004
    26 August 2008

    Addressing the issue you pose, you are in for a grandoise surprise
    Banks per se'..hire the least qualified to staff 90% of operations. The
    remain 10% are on board to keep the wolves at bay..Our firm does
    consulting to Int'l Banks for Fraud in Int'l Letters of Credit...and rarely
    do we run across anyone in a sizeable bank that even has a clue
    what those difficulties ensue..and that includes the Feds. Don't
    dispair, there's always openings at the local banks for anyone with
    a high school education, no experience, no comprehension of
    direction and client services are understood by: what the client can
    do for YOU !!!
    RER

  • Mi
    Michelle S.
    26 August 2008

    Coming from the lending and mortgage world I would like to shift gears into this field...and looking for a career chnage...Can you provide me with some info on how to proceed in this market and troubling times...

  • Jo
    Jon Jacobs
    26 August 2008

    Craig, a number of organizations offer credentialing programs related to risk management within finance. One well-known credential is the FRM (Financial Risk Manager) certification, administered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals. Also, the Risk Management Association has an accreditation program for credit risk managers. Much of risk management in finance tends to be highly mathematical. In fact, many roles - especially those related to market risk, probably the largest single subfield within financial risk management - have an advanced quantitative degree (such as M.S. in financial engineering) as a basic requirement. Credit risk, another sizable and growing subfield, requires fundamental credit analysis skills - financial statement analysis and experience making credit decisions (such as in corporate lending). Jobs in operational risk management - the segment that sounds closest to insurance - often require hands-on knowledge of securities trading and settlement ("back-office") procedures.

  • Cr
    Craig Taylor
    26 August 2008

    I am 27 and I have been working as an insurance consultant since graduating 5 years ago. I am looking for a carrer change and would like to move into the risk management field. Could you provide me with some information on how you break into this field.

  • Jo
    Jon Jacobs
    30 July 2008

    ZamiSalaria, you can start by contacting the recruiters named in the story plus the 4 or 5 other recruiters (and one big-leage hedge fund) currently advertising Chicago-area risk management jobs on this site, if you haven't already done so.

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