Spotlight Series: Caragh Rafferty | FS consultant in Dublin

Matthew Wilcox our consultant managing the role

What did you do before joining Marks Sattin?

Upon graduation, I secured a position at KPMG as a trainee accountant in FS Audit. After a year I quickly realised that accountancy was not for me, although I still wanted to stay within the industry, that's when I decided to pursue a career in accountancy recruitment. I knew my strengths would be better suited to a people and client facing role and with my exposure to the ACA route with a Big 4 firm, I already had the industry knowledge to be successful in recruitment.     

How has your previous experience helped your career in financial recruitment?

With my background in finance, I can relate to candidates’ experiences as well as understand the terminology whilst consulting and advising what the next best step would be in their career.

How long have you been with Marks Sattin and what area of the market do you cover?

I have been working with Marks Sattin since October 2017. I cover insurance and investment management.

How would you say the Dublin market differs from other locations?

The financial services market in Dublin is really buoyant at the moment with many high profile firms planning to move their business to Ireland in the wake of Brexit, this is resulting in an influx of potential new clients and opportunities, which means I’ve certainly been kept busy!

A random fact about you?

In 2015 I had the great opportunity to take a lion for a walk during my time spent volunteering in Zambia. I also spent a night camping out in the wild during a safari.

Hear more stories from our employee spotlight series here.

If you would like to have an anonymous chat to our internal recruitment team about anything recruitment career related, visit our Careers site where you can use our online chat function!

06/08/18
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I don’t think anyone would disagree that 2020 was a tough year. In recruitment we are usually on the sharp end of economic turmoil, so I’m very empathetic to people’s struggles, especially those seeking new employment.   However the good news is that over the last couple of months we have seen some glimmers of hope. Since last September there has been a slow but steady incremental demand for accounting & finance talent in London. This was precipitated by the gradual reopening of offices, and clearing the hiring backlog which was created in the late spring and summer months due to the COVID restrictions and the extreme uncertainty. Candidate needs have changed Whilst firms were constrained and had conservative hiring plans, the risk appetite among candidates for a new role, company, or location change surprised us - this has no doubt been triggered by the enormous lifestyle changes that we’ve all been contending with recently. Many people have decided to escape that city in search of open, more green spaces, and the vast majority of candidates we speak with are expecting a new level of work flexibility to support their personal and family interests.A large dichotomy between company attitudes to hiring!   Some firms are making the hiring process so cumbersome that both parties lose interest half way through the process.  It’s not uncommon to see a candidate going through six or seven rounds of interviews, without receiving an offer at the end of the saga. Whilst other organisations are very quick to bridge the skills gap, recognising that finance departments need enough resources to operate effectively. The overwhelming message that we are receiving is that accountants are feeling jaded, given they are working harder than ever with less moral support and fewer resources. Now businesses are starting to see cracks appear and recruitment is back on the agenda. " It has largely been an employer’s market lately, where candidates have very realistic expectations and businesses have been able to secure strong candidates quickly. We are also seeing a fresh demand for niche skillsets, such as: Regulatory Reporting,  IFRS 17, and Technical Accounting, which has led to competing offers and a shortage of candidates with the right skills. The projects that were put on the long finger are now back in focus.In contrast to the 2008 crisis, we haven't seen many redundancies within financial services firms. Nevertheless, businesses are reassessing what skillsets they require from senior finance leaders in this uncertain environment. Unfortunately we have seen some cost cutting at the very senior end of the market with opportunistic or knee-jerk removal of CFOs and Directors who may have been seen as an expensive luxury in a stale economy, however these people will be an absolute necessity to have in place when businesses return to growth mode. We’re expecting risk appetite to accelerate Going into spring 2021 we fully expect that positive news on a vaccine will spur a newfound confidence, and risk appetite will accelerate the need for additional resources and new expertise, leading to a war on talent. Our advice would be to really look after those star employees who you want to keep as they will be approached by other companies! If you are thinking about growing your team or department, it may be worth getting ahead of the game and kicking that process into action before you lose out, or have to pay salaries over the odds.If you are considering recruitment options, or want to discuss your own personal circumstances, then please feel free to call me for a chat on 079 6337 0126, or drop me an email.

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In recruitment we are usually on the sharp end of economic turmoil, so I’m very empathetic to people’s struggles, especially those seeking new employment.

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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 UKWhen 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 workingAgile 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 sectorPositively, 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 agendaWhen 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.

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In June 2019, Huw van Steenis - Group Managing Director at UBS and a credible figure in the banking and finance world, chaired the Future of Finance Report, conducted on behalf of the Governor of the Bank of England to review the UK’s financial system and what this meant for the Bank’s agenda over the coming decade. In this report, one of Huw van’s recommendations for the bank was: To enhance the payments system for the digital age as this is a force shaping the economy as we know it. " In the Fintech boom, companies and cloud based systems are becoming ever more respected in the banking & capital markets space - you don’t have to look too far to see a new digital payment or trading app popping up offering even quicker and easier payment transfers, online banking and currency converting.A major switch in how the public perceive technology is something that forced the hand of even the ever cautious consumer, long gone are the days of apps or cloud based systems being perceived as risky when uploading your most important information, including your banking details. The now slick and smooth process of setting up a new bank account via an app like Monzo, or setting up a new staggered payment process via Klarna can be done within minutes.In a digital age, cash in its conventional sense seemingly inhibits the consumer and some believe it becomes a problem that they never knew they had, as loose change and heavy pockets are an inconvenience we don’t have to live with. Huw van discovered that in Sweden, cash payments had fallen by 80% over the past decade and experts believe that the UK is only four to six years behind.Ten years ago cash was used for six out of ten payments and experts believe that this will inevitably drop to one in ten payments in ten years’ time, as you can imagine cash has been taken over by debit cards and contactless technology that is only bound to increase over time.As of 2018, cash accounted for 28% of payment methods used, this is down from 60% in 2008, so it is obvious to see the use of cash is on the decline heading towards the experts predictions of 9% by 2028, but has Covid-19 sped things up pushing us five to ten years ahead of schedule in reducing the use of cash?Banks and retailers have been pushing the use of contactless payments and online services for hygiene reasons and as shops started to close, the UK cash usage halved within days. Reports also show that during lockdown ATM transactions were down by 60%, a rapid drop compared to the year on year decline of roughly 6% - 10%. This all happened despite the World Health Organisation never actually instructing people to avoid cash during the pandemic.In some cases retailers have been refusing to take cash, I know this from personal experience, maybe you have experienced this too? So what chance does cash have to survive?Over the past few years with the emergence of the Fintech space in London, we began growing our offering for clients of this type. We recognise the need to be flexible and dynamic to match the world of Fintech and are proud to support such disruptive businesses. With our financial services expertise and tenure, we've found ourselves to be excellent commercial partners and providers for Fintech firms that are both in a period of rapid growth and those that have made their mark on the market. View our latest roles here. 

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