HOUSE, Issue 23

Welcome the 23rd edition of House, where we highlight tentative steps amongst the global investment banks to start hiring at MD level again; all change at JP Morgan; a surge in hiring within corporate investigations firms, private wealth management and law firm hires as a result of the Panama Papers and the possible emergence of corporate compliance teams within MNCs across Asia Pacific.

Corporate Compliance, when will it happen?

New regulation and international scandals, such as the Rolls Royce case, have heralded an increase in interest from the corporate sector to hire compliance officers. We have already seen tangible evidence of this with senior hires at Hilti and Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Hong Kong last year and we anticipate more hiring as the teams are built out.

Arion House has been working on two searches for Heads of Compliance for large MNCs this year and it has been interesting to see how the compliance structures of firms in Asia Pacific differ and the skill-set needed compares to those at banks. The key requisites we are being asked to deliver are candidates with the ability to design a compliance framework, implement training in ethics and conduct and, most importantly, experience in anti- bribery and corruption.

Panama Papers fall out

Rattled by last year’s Panama Papers scandal, Hong Kong’s Financial Services & Treasury Bureau (FSTB) has brought in heightened regulatory requirements to non-financial businesses and private companies who have largely been operating under self-regulatory regimes. The new rules would introduce a direct licensing regime for agents who set up such companies, as well as a statutory obligation to hold up-to-date information on the true owners and controlling parties, and to provide this information to the authorities upon request.

As a result, private companies will need to develop their regulatory functions. Firms most likely to increase their compliance spend include law firms and private wealth managers.

Corporate Investigators

Arion House has identified an increase in demand for experienced investigators and a fragmentation of the associated consultancy market. In the past, this space has been dominated by the Big 4 and a few well-known providers of specialist investigative services, but last year saw multi-disciplinary consultancies look to challenge existing players. RSM brought in 2 new MDs from KPMG and PwC to beef up their Forensic Investigation capabilities in the UK and Alix Partners brought in a former KPMG partner as an MD into their FAS practice, more recently Neil Fletcher has taken over as Director of the new Forensic and Investigation Services team at Mazars. In Asia, we have seen the emergence of firms such as Blackpeak and Berkley Research Group since 2010.

With the investment banking world having embraced the benefits of FIU teams within their wider compliance framework, the focus for these new consultancies appears to be the corporate sector. It certainly seems as though the stories of Daimler and VW have created a shift in attitude toward pro-active reputational risk management which consultancies have reacted to accordingly. It would also be fair to say that technological advancements, especially in relation to large data sets, are allowing this work to be carried out with minimal impact on day-to-day business.


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