Market Insights on Financial Services in London 2017

David Harvey our consultant managing the role

The London Financial Services Market Insights Report covers the following areas:

  • Banking and Financial Markets
  • Corporate Finance & Transactional Services
  • Insurance
  • Investment Management
  • Compliance
  • Real Estate
  • Part-Qualified & Transactional
  • Executive & Interim


Banking and Financial Markets

2016 started off on an extremely positive note, although the decision in June to leave the EU led to a definite slow down in recruitment. This was only to be expected, as the city was holding out to see when Article 50 would be triggered and what impact this was likely to have on its support functions.

In terms of regulation, demand is consistent for strong capital and liquidity production candidates and also for candidates who can interpret new policy changes. Throughout H1 last year, there was a spike for professionals with liquidity experience focusing on LCR and NSFR reporting, however this shifted in H2 towards the need for talent with capital experience. 

Corporate Finance & Transactional Services

Over the last 12 months, it has become increasingly hard for newly qualified ACAs to move directly into corporate finance roles. Experience within transactional services, business modelling, M&A, valuations or restructuring has become almost a prerequisite for a recently qualified accountant looking to move out of practice. Auditors and tax professionals looking to make a move have often struggled given their lack of deal exposure.

Insurance

It was a tale of mixed fortunes for the insurance sector in 2016. The uncertainty of Brexit added some jitters to the market and our clients refrained from hiring non critical roles while they waited to see what impact the referendum would have on their firms. Increased merger and acquisition activity had a short term impact on the number of permanent vacancies in London, but also led to a short term surge for contractors. 2017 has seen a change in the market, with all signs leading to the requirement for skilled accountants to join insurance businesses both on a contract and permanent basis, and we expect this trend to continue.

Investment Management

The private investment market has always been the core of the investment management division and last year was no different, with success at all levels from the lower mid market up to the bulge bracket investment houses. It was a record year for fund raising and this resulted in a huge demand for asset class specific fund accountants. The three to five year post qualified experience mark was a real sweet spot, although processes took longer than in previous years. Worthy of note is the continued growth of the London venture capital market. The record funds raised in 2014 and 2015 have resulted in a real appetite for the asset class with the consequence being a lot of work with new, start-up ventures and growth funds.

Compliance

There has been a shift in approach among larger financial institutions, where compliance professionals are being brought in to assist with remediation programmes, particularly in the financial crime and sanctions area. New regulation is driving the contract market. Clients are increasingly running programmes to ensure they are prepared for the wide-ranging implications of MiFID II/ MiFIR, which goes live in January 2018.

Real Estate

Despite the climate of uncertainty, some opportunities did emerge in the European real estate industry, with the favourable exchange rate attracting overseas investors to premium quality assets in and around the UK. In this risk-off climate, in which many real estate investors are clearly willing to sacrifice some yield for lower risk, Germany is regarded as the new haven for capital.

Part-Qualified & Transactional

Part-qualified accountants within 12 months of qualifying are in a strong position and can afford to be selective in their next move. Their main motivation is to progress into a more all round financial and management accounting role, with access to regulatory reporting, management, or fund accounting. They will also be mindful of the salaries available once they qualify.

Executive & Interim

Hiring at the executive finance level started slowly but picked up towards the end of the year. There was a slight increase in roles available at the £80k to £150k range within business as usual finance and areas like financial planning and analysis, while business partnering saw a welcome return to centre stage. Whilst employers were more decisive and swift in their senior recruitment than in previous years, it is still very much a buyer’s market with firms able to hold out for the very best talent available.

Download the full Banking and Financial Markets commentary and salary insights here [450KB PDF] »

View salaries and commentaries in other UK regions and Ireland »

11/09/17
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