Across the City, holed up in ‘war rooms’, senior executives in banks and fund managers are working out how to deal with Brexit. Most had contingency plans before the vote, but they were theoretical at best, and they now need to be firmed up.
Waiting in the wings, strategy consultants and regulatory specialists are preparing for an avalanche of work and are quietly building their teams. This is one silver lining for the City job market to come from the Brexit vote.
“Brexit brings a huge amount of uncertainty and change for financial services organisations. Right now, they’re shifting internal resources to deal with the ramifications, which creates gaps elsewhere in the organisation,” says Andrew Kail, UK financial services leader at PwC. “They will also have to bring in a significant amount of expertise from external consultants.”
These consultants are not branding themselves as ‘Brexit’ teams – although this may change – but are instead advising financial services organisations on a whole range of issues related to the fall out from Britain’s decision to leave the EU, says Kail.
“Regulation and compliance rules will be a huge issue, single market access and passporting rules are also another key concern,” he says. “But then there will be issues around their current labour force and immigration changes, processes and controls and also the need to influence and lobby politicians to try and ensure as favourable outcome as possible for the City.”
Kail says that cuts within most financial services organisations over the past two years have left them ‘resource constrained’. “Regulatory consulting was a big area for them anyway. This isn’t falling away and the Brexit vote will only add to the pressure. Every consulting organisation will be actively looking to recruit right now,” he says.
Tom Lambe, who heads up the financial services division of recruiters Alexander Ash, says that consulting firms are already busy. “There’s high demand for regulatory change, digital strategy, big data, cyber security and technology simplification. Brexit will add to this,” he says.
Specifically, Kail predicts that banks will be looking to hire project and change management expertise to deal with the implications of Brexit, and draft in scenario planning and strategy modelling expertise from consultancies.
“Most of these organisations have three to five-year plans, so Brexit will have upset these. For now, they want to plan for every scenario, as anything is unlikely to happen until the UK government triggers Article 50 and formally requests to leave the EU,” he says.
Pay for regulatory specialists isn’t huge, at least when compared to other financial services jobs. Figures from pay benchmarking website Emolument.com suggest that junior salaries start at £31.7k, and rise to £110k for a director level role.
“We’re absolutely looking to fill any skills gaps we have, as are most other consultancies like PwC,” says Kail. “Most of our financial services consulting teams come from a banking background, so this is definitely an opportunity for people looking for a career switch.”
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