House Issue 20, November 2016


….to the 20th edition of House! In the run-up to the Christmas period, traditionally a quiet time for hiring, we are seeing unseasonably high levels of activity. We are still being asked to help with searches as firm’s within the banking sector target quality over quantity and asset managers build larger and more effective compliance teams. The corporate sector continues to react to the changing regulatory landscape and professional service and law firms increase their benches in reaction to client demands, regulatory and political uncertainty. We anticipate some big moves in the new year.

Corporate compliance joins the party…

Multi-national firms across the world have finally started to add to their global compliance teams. High profile bribery and corruption cases have highlighted the need for increased internal functions in higher risk sectors. Patrick Tong joining the Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda from Johnson and Johnson and Stanley Chung joining global construction firm Hilti in Hong Kong suggesting that the corporate sector is reacting to the need for compliance professionals.

Asset management

Recent guidelines issued by both the SFC in Hong Kong and the MAS in Singapore have suggested that regulators will be shifting their attention from the sell-side to the buy-side imminently. Compliance teams are significantly smaller on the buy-side, compared to their sell-side counterparts, and so we have seen an increase in demand from our buy-side clients hiring. Reporting lines for these compliance officers are also changing. Where it was once traditional for asset management compliance teams to report to the APAC General Counsel, there is now often a direct line to the Global Head who reports straight into the Board. Both trends signify the growing autonomy and importance of compliance departments within asset management.

Monitoring and testing

Monitoring and testing has been a consistent theme throughout 2016 with investment banks, brokers and asset managers really starting to develop teams that can increase the level of risk identification and assessment that global regulators are demanding. But where are firms finding the appropriate individuals to staff these teams? Opinion is polarised; the large US retail banks, who were pioneers in setting up these functions, traditionally looked at audit departments. There was then a trend to look at ex-business managers or even front office salespeople and traders. Now the thinking is lawyers, with a litigation background, are the answer. People who can ask direct and very pertinent questions and get the answers needed.


Finally, we had to mention Trump, we thought it easier to remind you of his quotes towards the sector and regulation:

Dodd-Frank has made it impossible for bankers to function.” When pressed on the extent of the changes he wanted to make, Trump said: “it will be close to dismantling Dodd-Frank.”

He describes the FCPA as “a horrible law and it should be changed.”

On Cyber he said “I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable.”

Trump will undoubtedly make changes, how much he can actually do to change the regulatory environment remains to be seen, either way, we think we will be looking at an interesting time for hiring in the sector….