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Recovery for compliance jobs?

Japan has a new government and it might be about to get some new regulation.

Just a few days after romping to a landslide victory, Japan’s new prime minister, Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Hatoyama, suggested his administration would be looking for more government oversight over the financial markets in an attempt to strike a better balance between free competition and government regulation.

But will this bring more job opportunities to Japan’s compliance sector? Opinion is mixed.

For Kirstin Duffy, the managing director of Morgan McKinley in Japan, it is too early to tell whether any new regulation will have an impact. “Without speculating, it is very difficult to foresee whether hiring demand for compliance officers may increase over the coming months. This is really dependent on what, if any, regulatory changes the new government implements,” says Duffy.

At Legal Futures, however, Matt Anderson, manager of the finance and banking team, says compliance officers “should continue to be in demand as the government considers new rules aimed at supporting economic growth through sound business practice.”

Given that compliance hiring has been sluggish of late, any regulatory boost would be welcomed. Though even before the DPJ claimed power, there were some signs of recovery.

“Hiring numbers are down, and several high profile firms have let go many compliance officers, but at the same time we have seen demand for equities and debt advisory compliance officers along with control room and research compliance in particular. There have also been some high profile head of compliance vacancies which are slowly being filled,” says Anderson.

This is being helped by senior management, who Anderson says seem eager to ensure that any front side growth is matched by strong compliance in order to minimise the risk of derailing the good business growth some of them have experienced over the past half year.

Whether this could be the green shoots of recovery, however, only time will tell.

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