If you fear losing your sales or trading job in an investment bank, you may have a back-up plan: compliance.
After all, banks need more and more compliance staff if they’re to please regulators and avoid the fate of Barclays. They also need to deal with all those new regulations like Basel III. And they need to tighten their anti-money laundering functions to avoid the fate of HSBC.
Surely, therefore, there must be plenty of jobs on offer in compliance now?
Unfortunately not. My experience is that the compliance job market is not booming. It’s stronger than it was six months ago, but there’s been nearly no pick-up related to all the new regulations or recent scandals at all.
As a result, it is far less easy for front office bankers to move into compliance roles than you might expect. Even ex-global heads of compliance are struggling to get back into the market and accepting salaries of just £90k, or rates of £500 a day. These are far below the kinds of figures that have been offered in the past.
At some point, the compliance hiring market will pick up. I can’t see any other way that banks will be able to implement all the new regulation their facing than by hiring new staff. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet. Sorry.