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5 key trends in the financial crime market

Financial Crime Prevention is one of the fastest growing areas of risk management. New technology and regulations are at the forefront of this ever-evolving sector, triggering seismic growth over the past few years as firms seek skilled specialists within compliance, AML advisory and sanctions.

As a growing number of UK businesses invest in a financial crime function, competition within the market is intensifying and offering an attractive employment proposition is crucial. Simon Hockridge, Principal Consultant at Robert Walters, discusses five key trends in the UK financial crime market and how to secure top tier financial crime experts.

Demand for professionals at an all-time high

With multiple job openings up across the financial crime market on a national scale, sourcing those professionals with industry experience is a priority for business looking to strengthen both detection and prevention of criminal and fraudulent activity.

Simon explains, “Over the past few years, high-impact regulatory changes such as Brexit have increased demand for senior professionals with experience in drafting and implementing financial crime policies. Many firms are looking to determine what long-term impact Brexit will have regarding sanctions, EDD and AML advisory policies and procedures.”

“The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also stressed the importance of organisations developing a strong anti-financial crime architecture – with resources to match. As a growing number of businesses invest in financial crime, demand for professionals is expected to be highest at senior and managerial levels, with financial services firms looking for experienced professionals to head their Compliance & MLRO, AML, Fraud Analytics and Sanctions Monitoring teams.”

“As well as targeting experienced professionals, there’s an increasing demand for new talent to enter the industry. AML analysts, fraud analysts and compliance analysts are just some of the executive level positions multiple businesses are recruiting for.”

Skills shortages within the industry

As the industry continues to grow, increasing demand for high-calibre financial crime experts leads to new recruitment challenges. Many employers within financial services now find they are faced with a distinct skills gap.

Simon continues, “In 2018, the employment rate for the financial crime market reached record heights. Continuous shifts within the recruitment space have left the industry in imbalance, with new job creation far outreaching the current supply of skilled candidates within the practice.”

“With a narrow pool of talent on offer, more needs to be done to attract new professionals to the industry. You might want to consider looking to other fields for candidates who possess the necessary transferrable skills to progress in the field to more senior, specialist positions. For example, analytical, problem-solving and investigative skills are paramount for junior level positions within the financial crime space. Looking to upskill junior professionals is an effective way to boost your internal talent pipeline moving forward.”  

Fraud and risk professionals a priority

With the rise of cashless transactions, mobile transactions and biometrics, technology is bringing many new challenges for the financial services industry, leaving it open to new potential threats, as well as an increasing requirement for data security.

With a narrow pool of talent on offer, more needs to be done to attract new professionals to the industry. You might want to consider looking to other fields for candidates who possess the necessary transferrable skills to progress in the field to more senior, specialist positions.


Simon highlights, “With recent large-scale cyber-attacks across both the public and private sector, and a year- on-year rise in fraudulent activities, fraud and risk aversion is now a key priority for many organisations. This trend is set to further accelerate over the next year, increasing recruitment for fraud, fraud analytics and risk professionals.”

“Furthermore, new data protection regulations, such as GDPR, mean many businesses are looking to mitigate any risk regarding data protection and data privacy, opening up new financial crime roles in IT departments.”

Adoption of new technologies

Financial services firms harnessing the power of digital technology are setting themselves apart from their competitors by possessing a dynamic and sophisticated financial crime function.

Simon says, “Firms developing financial crime teams are beginning to move to new technologies to enhance the function’s performance. Incorporating emerging technologies into your anti-financial crime strategy such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and automation enables you to detect criminal schemes in real-time.”

“An exciting prospect for financial crime professionals is working for vanguard businesses adopting the latest technologies and receiving training in these areas to advance their career. As well as an attractive employment offer, professionals want to truly add value to an organisation and will opt for forward-thinking firms who are able to provide this.”   

Non-monetary employment incentives

Healthy salary growth is expected to continue over the next twelve months as securing top talent becomes a priority for businesses.

Simon explains, “Candidates with a strong financial crime or fraud background, or those with AML experience within banking & financial services are now able to demand higher salaries from their prospective employers.”

“As well as offering more lucrative pay packages, you should consider your employment proposition holistically. Of course, monetary incentives are essential to your acquisition strategy, but other factors such as commuting time, work-life balance and the potential for career progression are also growing priorities for professionals. Offering an all-encompassing employment package could make the difference between a candidate choosing your business over a counter-offer with a higher salary.”

“Benchmarking your salaries against the current market rate enables you to assess your employment offering on a regional and national level. This will provide a strong foundation to set competitive rate that attracts the right talent to your business.”

Request a copy of the 2019 Financial Crime Salary Survey to benchmark your salaries.

Contact Simon Hockridge, Financial Crime Principal Consultant on +44 (0)161 214 7400 or at simon.hockridge@robertwalters.com to discuss your current recruitment needs or request a copy of the 2018 Salary Survey, to help you create an effective and comprehensive recruitment strategy.

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