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Compliance professionals in demand

20/01/14

With concerns in the US and the UK over insider trading and other forms of fraud as regulatory activity clamps down on financial services firms across the globe, compliance professionals are set to be in demand over the course of 2014.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to be particularly active in pursuing insider trading violations this year, with the number of cases it dealt with over the last 12 months increasing by almost 100 compared to 2012.

However, British firms are also likely to come under the microscope - the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) arrested 15 people last year for insider trading as it attempted to crack down on issues across the industry, reports the Financial Times.

Similar trends were seen in continental Europe and Australia, suggesting that there is a global dimension to this problem and highlighting the steps the authorities are willing to take to cope with it.

Howard Groedel, a partner at US law firm Ulmer & Berne, said asset managers are scrambling to hire compliance staff to ensure their businesses are protected. Compliance has become a major sector across the issue in recent years, particularly with the intense levels of media scrutiny it often faces.

"Fund groups have got the message that these are life or death cases for their businesses," said Mr Groedel.

Dan Strachman, founder of Hedge Answers, the online hedge fund network, suggested that firms are increasingly conscious of the need to keep track of everything they email and text across the company, as this could become evidence in any potential investigation.

Star fund manager Guillaume Rambourg, who was investigated by the UK regulator in 2010 over suspected trading violations but found not guilty of any wrongdoing, recently told the Financial Times that it pays to be cautious.

"You do everything we can to not find ourselves in any grey area. I never want to go through what I went through in 2010," he explained.

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