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Market Insights 2019 | Financial Services, London



The insurance industry has had to contend with significant disruption in 2018. Increasing competition, lower margins, low interest rates and Brexit woes have culminated to curtail growth in the sector generally. This has led to sector consolidation, which presents opportunities for the contract market, but has a dampening effect on permanent hiring. However, there has been a drive to adopt new technologies and make use of big data and better digital strategy to enhance the customer journey, which has also led to a rise in the evolution of Insurtechs. This suggests that project and IT professionals will be in demand. IFRS 17 accounting rules will be effective from 1st January 2021 and organisations are already seeking advice from accounting firms and assembling project task forces to deal with the impending changes.


Last year saw our busiest year to date within the fintech space, which continues to be a sought after industry for candidates from all backgrounds. With more and more fintech businesses taking substantial business away from traditional banks, payment providers, wealth managers and wider financial services companies, there has been a real increase in the number of organisations needing to bring finance in-house. This led to healthy recruitment across all levels throughout 2018 - a trend that is set to continue in 2019.

Banking & Capital Markets

Uncertainty around Brexit and the continued focus on cost reduction across banking has led to the quietest year we have seen in terms of hiring since 2008. This has been particularly marked on the temporary side, as banks look to replace contractors with permanent staff who would otherwise be made redundant.

Private Equity & Investment Management

Hiring in the investment management market remains buoyant and competitive, particularly in the alternative spaces like private equity, debt and credit. London remains the major hub, although Luxembourg is also a key market for private equity activity.

Risk Management & Compliance

The uncertainty around Brexit has caused growth plans within risk management to slow down with many positions relocating to the regions and abroad. This has been the general position across the top tier banks and asset managers.


2018 was an unusual year for the regulatory market. The demand for senior managers or heads of regulatory reporting slowed down, but there was an increase in the need for part qualified or newly qualified regulatory accountants across banking and capital markets.

Real Estate

Real estate investment management continues to attract significant capital from investors. As has been the case over several years, the primary concern for the industry is the availability of suitable assets. This has in turn led to a widened definition of traditional real estate to include alternative or niche areas, such as student accommodation, private rented sector and social housing. The demand for these once niche areas remains very strong because of yield, compared with more mature sectors, keeping the market growing with exciting possibilities.

Part Qualified & Transactional

2018 continued to be a year dominated by a shortage of quality candidates. Job flow on the whole was up on the previous year, however Brexit uncertainty seemed to have an impact on the number of candidates willing to move. There remained a demand for junior accountants with up to one year’s experience, with many clients favouring this over entry level graduates.

GUEST AUTHOR: Western Union Business Solutions

From Brexit to international trade tensions, recent economic turbulence has highlighted one thing more clearly than ever: risk management strategies have to be in place to protect profits for businesses trading internationally. If you are an FD or fund manager; many hours of expertise are poured into choosing the right opportunities and tracking yields, but if there is an international element to the investment, even a small change in the currency exchange rate can have a significant effect on profit or the value of returns. Read more on this guest author piece here.

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