Compliance jobs vs Risk jobs
Closely related, roles in compliance and risk share many of the same expectations when it comes to skills, experience and knowledge with analytical thinking, strong communication skills and the ability to influence key decision-makers mutual assets in any compliance or risk professional. For those applying for compliance jobs and roles in risk in the current business climate, an added insight into regulatory events, trends and standards is also key to landing a role.
Risk jobs and those in compliance are pretty heavily in demand across financial services firms, Big Four accounting firms and local regulators where those beginning their careers in risk and compliance will gain experience in finance sector advisory teams and related middle office roles. Today’s candidates for both compliance jobs and risk jobs will also find themselves particularly in demand if they are in possession of digital media and technology experience. Though automation is increasingly overtaking much of the business world, especially within the accounting and finance arenas, the need for individuals able to apply their technological expertise in a regulatory and compliance capacity are still highly sought after and consequently able to command competitive salaries.
The job titles across risk and compliance don’t differ too greatly, with the majority of professionals beginning as analyst and working their way up to associate and then hopefully vice president, director and managing director, though as a rule those who make it to the upper echelons in either profession are few and far between. As banks increase the workload pressures on middle-office workers in risk and compliance due to tougher regulatory measures, the tendency has become such that individuals opt to change career path once they’ve got to a certain point. However, that being said, in light of talent deficits in risk and compliance, banks in urgent need of staff are more and more accelerating job progression to secure the right candidates.
Typically, for those working in risk, following the trainee stage where they will have encountered the various strands of risk, including market, credit, financial and operational, as well as the more recently prominent regulatory risk, an individual will have the opportunity to specialise in their chosen area of expertise. At a junior or analyst level, much of the job will involve number crunching in order to deliver meticulous risk assessments informed by statistics, reports and market trends. This is where analytical thinking comes into play for those in risk jobs. Quantitative analysis and the use of complex modelling techniques to determine value at risk (VAR) measurements are a huge component of the job.
So too is business acumen. Being able to demonstrate your knowledge of financial market trends and incoming government legislation in terms of the bank’s business objectives lets your employer know that you understand both the functional and strategic elements to a role in risk in your ability to identify anything that may affect the firm’s risk profile. That agility in working with the business will serve you well as you move up the ranks to a mid-level role which will see your powers of influence come to the fore in advising front-office decisions. The more senior you become the more involved you will become in implementing risk policies and procedures as well as collaborating with the board and global risk team to establish and quantify your firm’s risk appetite.
As for those seeking jobs in compliance, there is an excessive demand for compliance professionals and as a result they will find themselves plunged in at the deep end with a broad range of responsibilities. Expect many hours of research into regulatory changes and their possible effects on the business, as well as preparation for and management of regulatory inspections. Compliance professionals need to be intensely organised, time efficient and detail oriented as they administer a strict timeline of regulations as far as when they are due to take effect and the deadline for new processes and policies to be implemented.
Junior compliance roles will likely involve a large administrative element, including the reviewing of new customer files, rigorous learning of complex technologies including AML software and if working in a monitoring or surveillance role one can expect to be checking through email and phone communications. Moving up to mid-level responsibilities will see the previous support-only role elevated to dispensing expertise to the front-office and responding to their queries, in addition to delivering training materials and opportunities in order to keep the business informed of the firm’s compliance policies. At director level, should you reach it, you will be tasked with the implementation of those policies as well as any changes to compliance rules.
Median salaries for those applying to junior risk jobs tend to range between £30,000-60,000 (GBP) with risk management jobs commanding upwards of £100,000-150,000 correlating to career progression, while compliance jobs typically start at around £40,000 increasing to upwards of £100,000 with six or more years of experience.