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The reliance on compliance in finance

Here’s some good news. On the back of increasing external regulatory pressures and internal global compliance initiatives, there is growing demand among major financial institutions in Tokyo for bilingual compliance specialists.

John McCrohon, director of financial services at Robert Walters Japan, says that has translated into an increased number of openings for market/trade surveillance and control room compliance candidates in securities companies. Within the commercial and retail banks, some hiring managers are keen on landing compliance experts with anti-money laundering compliance experience.

But although demand is improving, Hiroshi Kurosaka, a senior consultant at T2 Tokyo specialising in legal and compliance roles, says headcount approval still isn’t easy to secure. And when it is secured, hiring managers are being very cautious deciding which candidate should fill the spots they’ve worked so hard to get budget for.

Firms are also faced with a shortage of top talent on the market.

“Compliance in Tokyo is still a relatively new career in finance and there are only a limited number of strong candidates – those who understand the motivation and psychology of the front office people and are able to effectively communicate with them,” says Kurosaka.

Beyond that, Kurosaka adds that firms also want candidates to be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the latest laws and regulations and how they are applied by the regulators. While for senior roles, the ability to negotiate with regulatory bodies and inspection experience are also highly valued.

Then there are language requirements: “excellent English is a must for Japanese nationals and non-Japanese officers need highly advanced Japanese skills,” says Kurosaka.

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