Despite the hiring freezes and layoffs and even if FICC revenues completely collapse in the second half, there will almost certainly be jobs to be had in the area of regulatory consulting.
We've remarked about this before - PWC has established a new 'Financial Services Regulatory Center of Excellence' and similar articles.
What it really comes down to is that all kinds of regulations are coming up, from Dodd Frank, Basel III, the Retail Distribution Review, UCITs IV, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, and the revision of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. Whether or not they've got any revenues, banks have to implement them: they're mandatory.
So what do you do if you want to get one of these regulatory jobs? We asked Giles Remmington, head of recruitment at compliance consultancy IMS Group, and his colleague - principle consultant for the IMS Group - Elizabeth Slaughter.
Who can move into regulatory consulting?
Giles: The demand coming from firms within regulatory consulting is very much centered on attracting experienced compliance and risk professionals. The ideal would be to employ someone with experience of regulatory consulting as a "like for like" hire, however firms are increasingly willing to consider the pool of candidates looking to move from in-house functions into consulting.
Breadth of regulatory experience is also attractive to firms within the regulatory consulting space as consultants will tend to work with clients across a broad range of projects rather than focus on one specific area.
When you say 'in-house functions', do you mean people with risk and compliance experience, but no direct knowledge of regulatory consulting can make this move? If so, what's their usual motivation for doing so?
Elizabeth: Yes, compliance and regulatory professionals who work as part of a compliance department within a hedge fund, asset manager, investment bank, etc. There are a number of different motivations for wanting to move into consultancy, for example, wanting to have a more people facing and advisory role, or more variety. A consultancy role brings more variety as it means having a portfolio of different types of clients, which will mean a broader range of products, businesses and individuals.
What kinds of people do you look for at IMS?
Giles: At IMS we look for people with compliance experience gained at the type of firms we deal with as clients. Recent joiners come from hedge funds, fund management and private equity firms as we have a strong client book in those areas. Essentially the ideal candidate profile for each firm does tend to be determined by the sector in which they most heavily operate.
Which three skill sets are hardest to find in regulatory consulting?
Giles: If candidates come from an in-house function, the biggest problem is finding people with strong enough client skills. Someone may be very competent in dealing with internal contacts but not necessarily be able to translate this into the "consultant - client" relationship where there is more emphasis on really engaging with the client
Firms will look for potential hires to have strong relevant experience although the sheer volume of regulation means there has to be a reality check - one person cannot know everything there is to know about compliance! The ability to learn quickly and navigate to relevant regulations is a key skill as a consultant may be advising a hedge fund on the potential effect of Dodd-Frank in the morning and then move to working through a client money review with an investment manager later in the day
If you had to advise candidates to learn about one particular kind of regulation, which one do you think is likely to give them the most marketable profile in the next 12 months?
Elizabeth: As there is currently a large spotlight over the regulation of the financial services sector and a number of significant regulatory events on the horizon, such as AIFMD and Dodd Frank, there is not one regulation that will make a candidate more marketable than another. What compliance professionals must ensure instead is that they are as up to date as possible with applicable regulations in their particular sector and demonstrate their knowledge of the impending new regulations.
This article first appeared on our UK site