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JPMorgan’s hiring spree hampered by staff turnover

Still reeling from a scandal-plagued 2013, J.P. Morgan is very open about its plans to hire in compliance and risk, promising this week to double the amount it spends on controls in the coming year. But the scars left by the scandal and the vibrant market for compliance and risk personnel are reportedly making it difficult for JPMorgan to add headcount.

“We’ve already seen a significant flow of compliance, risk management and operational new hires into JPM and we expect it to continue,” said one New York-based recruiter with knowledge of the situation. The bank is also targeting outside advisors and processors, he said.

However, a separate recruiter who asked to remain nameless said that many of the new hires are backfills for unmanned seats. “What I have observed is that a number of people have left JPMorgan, so some part of any additions to staff will be to address attrition,” she said.

The turnover is in part due to the high demand for these workers in the market, she added. Despite the scandals, they are looked at as qualified professionals by competitors. “In general, JPMorgan has good people,” she said. “They are well trained and exposed to rigorous standards and complex issues.”

But the current environment and the media coverage appears to have taken its toll. “The firm has been under tremendous regulatory scrutiny and pressure, and I sense it’s a hard place to be these days, particularly in risk or controls functions,” she said.

Another recruiter agrees, although he still sees the number of hires outweighing the list of those who have quit. “Of course they’ve had turnover and people are always moving from the sell-side to the buy-side and the public scrutiny has most certainly accelerated this, however net-net they are adding people in compliance and operations,” he said.

J.P. Morgan declined to respond to multiple requests for comment.

No matter what the cause for the open seats, JPMorgan is surely looking for talent. Jamie Dimon on Wednesday promised to devote $2 billion to retool the bank’s controls programs, up from the $1 billion it initially earmarked for the initiative.

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