Current trends and skills in demand within the Compliance profession of the Irish Financial Services sector
Current trends and skills in demand within the Compliance profession of the Irish Financial Services sector

The demand for compliance and regulatory professionals in Ireland has continued to increase throughout 2016; from specialist positions to more generalist focused roles the compliance market has continued to grow.

A key reason for the steady increase in compliance and regulatory positions across the Financial Services sector is the increased regulatory pressure being felt by Irish Financial Services institutions. Regulatory change implemented at both a local level by the Central Bank of Ireland and at European level by the European Central Bank can be seen throughout the market.

Although it is widely recognised that the growth in the number of compliance & regulatory positions, available in the Irish market, is a continued trend from recent years, the skills in demand have changed more significantly. The impending impact of a number of key regulations has caused firms to build out and restructure their compliance departments to deal with the demand of new legislation coming on stream. One specific example that we, at Broadgate Search, have clearly seen in recent times, has been the move of the AML/Financial Crime function being part of the core compliance team to it being established as a separate division, in many organisations. We expect this trend to continue with the onset of the 4th Money Laundering Directive and the visit of FATF this year. Other key pieces of upstream regulation driving growth in the compliance employment market have been MiFIDII, AiFMD, PSD2 and Common Reporting Standards.   

There has also been a significant increase in the number of specialist versus generalist positions e.g. Data Protection Officer versus Conduct of Business specialist. The need for a generalist as opposed to a specialist is often dependent on the company size. We often see larger firms deciding to seek individuals with specialist skill sets while smaller firms tend to opt for more generalist compliance professionals who have an ability to engage in a number of projects, as opposed to focusing on one specific area. Generally, this choice is largely impacted by headcount restrictions, budgetary requirements and support from other business areas.

Although ever changing regulation is a cause of growth for compliance positions, it is not the only reason that can be cited. Encouragingly, a vast amount of compliance & regulatory positions being created are newly created ones. This is due to both regulatory change but also due to the segregation of duties as outlined in the Corporate Governance Code. Firms are not only separating their risk, compliance & legal functions but also separating compliance into a number of different division to allow an impartial view to be given. As mentioned previously, this is most evident in the dissociation of AML/Financial Crime from the Regulatory Compliance function in a number of large firms with the on-going discussion remaining, does Financial Crime sit in operations or compliance?

The skill set of a compliance & regulatory professional in the current market demands much more than ensuring the rules and procedures are applied and monitored; it also requires you to be an expert in a given area, act as an advisor on behalf of the business for the business and having an ability and appetite to engage with non-compliance professionals within the organization to drive the compliance culture.

With the continued regulatory change expected in the coming years coupled with the volume of new authorisations and licenses being sought across the sector, it is a very demanding time to be a compliance professional in Ireland. We expect this trend to continue well in to the future with the onset of Brexit and firms falling under scrutiny for new requirements (e.g. Credit Unions under the SME code).

Broadgate Search is a specialist recruitment consultancy with offices in the heart of Dublin and city of London. We meet the needs of all regulated businesses, particularly those in the financial services sector and all business roles in Compliance, Audit, Risk, Governance and Actuarial. Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our specialist consultants for a confidential conversation.