Written by James Thomas on Friday November 1, 2013
If you are reading this as the holder of a compliance qualification then "congratulations!" You are, according to recent PwC research, hot property.
PwC found that a staggering 100% of heads of compliance at UK asset management firms believe that there is currently a shortage of appropriately qualified compliance professionals in the market, and most expect this trend to persist for the next 2 to 3 years. If ever a set of statistics supported the ICA's ongoing commitment to developing competency, excellence, ethics and integrity within compliance (with the first of these being measured through an individual's experience and qualifications), then this is surely it. As Amanda Rowland, partner and head of asset management regulation at PwC, said on the release of the figures: “Investment in staff training is key for all firms, to strengthen internal compliance teams in the short term and the pool of external talent in the long term.”
It would seem, then, that professional qualifications will play an ever greater role in the employment market for compliance practitioners, and these results suggest that suitably qualified individuals ought to be enjoying strong demand for their skills. Recent research by recruitment specialists Robert Walters supports this: recruitment levels in compliance in the first six months of 2013 were up from 2012 levels, as were salaries, and notably the firm predicts "significant competition for the best talent in the jobs market, with the strongest professionals in extremely high demand".
Although Robert Walters found that firms were looking to beef up their compliance functions in response to regulatory pressures, of course it shouldn't be taken that demand for compliance professionals will increase indefinitely. Some 35% of those surveyed by PwC did not think their compliance function is currently in a position to cope with future demands and in a climate of ongoing economic pressure, budget restrictions, and increasing regulatory scrutiny, one option for such firms may be to simply scale back their activities rather than extend compliance budgets. As Ms Rowland observes: “The changing regulatory landscape means the responsibilities placed on the compliance function are constantly increasing and firms will need to have access to a qualified pool of talent in order to meet these needs. Failing that, they need to consider a structure which enables them to perform their core essential role in the business, finding alternative solutions to cope with the remainder."
The market for compliance specialists appears healthy, but, as ever, the pressure for compliance to demon-strate its value to the business remains. Businesses are clearly thinking about whether to invest more heavily in compliance or whether to scale back their activities. Where they are prepared to invest in compliance, the value of qualifications and competence looks to be greater than ever.
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