Compliance Challenges in Financial Services Include Recruiting

The global financial crisis of several years ago brought with it new challenges and greater uncertainties for businesses around the world. Additional regulatory directives are one significant outgrowth of the crisis, but companies also became more focused on controlling costs, enhancing profitability and putting controls in place to restore confidence in their operations.

The Robert Half Financial Services Global Report: Navigating Change in an Evolving Regulatory Landscape offers financial leaders insights about where the industry stands today and how their colleagues are dealing with ongoing challenges.

While respondents were generally optimistic about their institutions’ growth prospects, 88 percent said that managing regulatory change has proven to be an ongoing challenge. A growing portion of their companies’ workloads are related to new — and ever-changing — regulations affecting the financial services industry, and tasks are increasingly project-based.

Not only have workloads risen due to regulatory demands, but 89 percent of executives worldwide cited recruiting challenges as a hurdle today.

What kinds of skills are companies looking for, and why is it so hard to find suitable candidates? It boils down to supply and demand. There is simply a dearth of professionals who have acquired the skills and knowledge needed to help institutions address the complex and continually evolving compliance environment.

Among the more stringent regulatory mandates driving demand for specialized talent are capital adequacy reporting requirements, stress testing, internal capital adequacy assessment process (ICAAP) reporting, and comprehensive capital analysis and review (CCAR).

Also sought after are candidates with knowledge of high-profile mandates, such as anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, Know Your Customer (KYC) and the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). In the United States, the Dodd-Frank Act also has implications for firms. In addition, financial executives and institutions see a growing need to invest more in hiring for middle- and back-office areas relating to finance, risk and compliance.

But hiring challenges are not confined to compliance needs. Talent shortages have emerged in a number of financial specialties that are dedicated to helping companies control costs and enhance profitability. These areas include financial planning and analysis, budgeting and forecasting, business partnering roles, and cost accounting.

As the job market for professionals with compliance knowledge and specialty finance skills has improved, turnover has increased and retention is increasingly a concern: 83 percent of executives said they’re worried about their ability to keep top performers.

For professionals with in-demand expertise, these trends are leading to higher compensation and attractive career opportunities in the financial services industry.

Although global financial executives seem optimistic about the prospects of their businesses, it’s apparent that the ability to recruit and retain professionals who can help them adhere to new and changing mandates will be increasingly critical to their ability to not only maintain compliance standards but also further their business goals.