Looking forward to 2021: What can we expect from the compliance and financial crime market

James Flood our consultant managing the role
As we start the final furlong to Christmas and the end of a pretty eventful year, I wanted to give my overview and thoughts on the current state of the UK compliance and financial crime market, taking a positive outlook and working towards what to look forward to in 2021.

The current market in the UK

When looking at unemployment statistics for 2020 it might feel a bit concerning, The Office for National Statistics confirms the estimates for June to August 2020 showing an approximately 1.52 million people unemployed, representing 209,000 more than a year earlier and 138,000 more than the previous quarter. This puts the current unemployment rate at 4.5%, considerably less than most of the other G8 nations and still some of the lowest figures on record. 

However, despite the UK dipping into a recession, there’s still been plenty of recruitment activity within the governance space, fuelled by the UK’s position as a global financial services hub, with a special mention to the growth of the fintech (the UK has three of Europe’s biggest fintech firms in its grasp). London especially continues to perform well in global rankings for innovation and investability, regularly coming in at the number one spot and continuing to lead the world in forex trading with an estimated $2.86 trillion per day going through London and as such businesses continue to maintain their presence in the square mile.

A new way of working

Agile working has never been more prevalent with working from home now firmly entrenched in many businesses cultures, coupled with investment in digital and virtual processes which have been implemented over the last 6-9 months. Within compliance and financial crime our clients have responded well to all changes and have adapted with ease, meaning less need for employees to worry about making too many adjustments or needing to come in to work on a regular basis.

Compensation in the compliance and financial crime sector

Positively, salaries and benefits for permanent roles have remained fairly consistent this year although there has been a marked decrease in day rates on offer for contractors with £500 to £700. This is where we have found most businesses comfortable operating in a volatile market. This has also been affected by the anticipated arrival of IR35, which will come into effect in April 2021. 

Why choose compliance and financial crime?

Compliance and financial crime continues to be a popular career choice for school and university leavers, driving the competition for graduate level roles. 


We continue to see an increasing number of qualifications available from the ICA, ACAMS and IRM which are being more desirable when applying for a new position. "

This is unsurprising given the UK’s position within the world of banking and financial services. It’s also due to the fact that a career in compliance is now possible straight from university, rather than the traditional route through legal or audit.

Relocation is high on the agenda

When looking at available vacancies it’s worth noting that a large number of roles are being relocated to Europe, particularly Benelux. Amsterdam is boasting a strong selection of risk, compliance and financial crime roles, particularly within the attractive Fintech space. However, we know that it’s not simple to uproot from London and move abroad, and there is still high appeal in London for both the employee and company side.

Marks Sattin has continued to perform well and above expectation this year. Whilst some businesses have reduced headcount, we have maintained and in some places expanded our existing teams to ensure we can continue to support clients across all locations. We are anticipating a marked increase in the number of hires next year and would love to support you with any future hiring plans. For more information on how we can support you or if you have any other needs you would like assistance with please get in touch.

14/12/20
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