HOUSE, Issue 33

Welcome the latest edition of House. The start of 2018 follows a remarkably busy Q4. Completely counter cyclical, last year’s final quarter was the busiest period of the year. Arion House received more job requisitions and job offers than at any point in the last 18 months. Chinese banks continued their global hiring spree in compliance and AML, private equity firms across the globe looked to add headcount to their teams, asset managers looked to hire within AML and in-house investigations and intelligence teams at investment banks started to grow. It seems the hiring curve we reported flattening is experiencing a bounce; a dead cat bounce? or a continuance of the strength in demand for compliance professionals worldwide?

Chinese banks looking to implement compliance structure.

China until 2017 had predominantly focussed on Western investment coming into the country. The last 12 months really signalled a shift in this trend as Chinese banks and corporates started to emerge from their domestic markets to do business in Europe and the US. Chinese banks are starting to make acquisitions on behalf of their corporate client base and, as a result,need compliance teams that adhere to global standards. Agricultural Bank of China was fined $215 million for AML violations by the New York State regulators late last year, the first case in which a Chinese bank was fined by overseas regulators. Interestingly, New York officials were alerted to the violations by the bank branch’s former Chief Compliance Officer.

In the last quarter we received several requests from China-based firms on how to structure a compliance and financial crime prevention team that adheres to global standards. This presents a great opportunity for experienced compliance officers, consultants and indeed recruiters to build from the ground up and help bring these compliance functions up to global standards.

Asset management firms looking to focus on AML controls in Asia and Europe.

2017 saw a real increase in asset management firms looking to hire in Financial Crime Prevention. Matthew Pascoe joined M&G Investments as their new Regional Head of Financial Crime Compliance in London. Andrew Bradley, former Global Head of Financial Crime at Credit Suisse, took a Director position within Fidelity’s UK MLRO group. Finally, Gerard Green joined Invesco as Head of Anti-Money Laundering for EMEA from Franklin Templeton.

In Asia, Alisa Milburn became the APAC Head of Financial Crime Compliance at BlackRock, moving from Fidelity, and was joined by Winnie Tse as a Vice President, formerly at State Street.

We anticipate more hiring in Europe as these new heads build out their AML functions within the region and in Asia Pacific where they look to appoint new heads for the region. We also anticipate the alternatives industry, notably private equity, hiring more financial crime prevention officers, as the sector faces continued scrutiny globally.

Investment banks build out their investigations teams.

Whether it’s looking at internal or external investigations, a real theme of last quarter was the build out of investigations functions in both Europe and Asia. The trend is prevalent across both corporate and financial services sectors and is recognition of the impact recent fines have had on both industries.

Whistleblowing is now a formal process backed by institutions rather than one paid lip service to and enhanced due diligence is driving the need for increased numbers of investigators on the ground in regional locations. Regional investigations are no longer run from London by teams flying in, who often have less understanding of local culture and customs.