Dear CEO: A letter from the PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority)
Dear CEO: A letter from the PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority)

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Financial Services

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General

27/02/20

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Not something someone wants to see coming from the PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority), however, this is the letter that went out to the CEOs of banking institutions in the UK recently. In essence, whilst it wasn’t targeting specific banks, it was more of a general piece to inform banks that the PRA are investing pretty heavily on technology, meaning that they plan to make it easier to look at data at a more granular level. In the future this could mean that they rely less on submissions and more on their own teams to analyse and interpret the true status of the banks’ liquidity and capital positions. Some organisations took this with a pinch of salt, while others have used it as a catalyst to recruit – and we’ve definitely seen an increase in recruitment within regulatory reporting. Organisations are pulling the trigger to recruit as a way to safeguard themselves against potential PRA action, particularly if the business is understaffed, or could do with an extra experienced head to ensure there are adequate controls and processes in place. Let’s take a look back to 2019? The last couple of years saw the market tighten, in particular to lower remuneration packages being offered to candidates compared to 2015 and 2016. Since the introduction of CoRep, the only other change was PRA110, but rather than paying over-the-odds salaries for specialists, the implementation was largely done taken in house. At the start of the year we saw an over-supply of contractors in the market, the majority working in narrow roles, for example only on RWA. With organisations looking for accountants that could complete the full suite of returns, contractors subsequently found themselves out of the market for a while, being asked to lower their rates, and clients not proceeding and wanting to hold out. Those in permanent roles were in a better position, however in some cases there wasn’t enough of a salary increase to warrant a move, creating a situation where roles were being advertised for a long time, and clients were then forced to compromise on what they sought from the beginning.  What should your recruitment strategy be for 2020? In the summer of 2018 we predicted that regulatory accountants with skills like VBA and SQL (and now Python) would become even more valuable in future for both organisations and talent. Even though the RegTech market is dominated by the likes of Vermeg (formerly Lombard Risk), Axiom, Wolters Kluwer and K-Helix, a lot of organisations we work with are still heavily reliant on Excel and producing these returns manually. We feel our predictions are coming true, with regulatory accountants who have excellent working knowledge of SQL/VBA/Python will soon find themselves in a stronger position (irrespective of their qualifications), as they are able to automate and streamline the whole process for producing and submitting regulatory returns. Where the PRA will apply pressure on banks to reduce their reliance on Excel, bringing in these candidates can better bridge the gap between the RegTech products and their in-house systems.  They can potentially safeguard the Bank from being a served S.166. We also cannot ignore the value of recruiting newly qualified ACAs from the Top 6 firms, as they understand the importance of controls and processes, and we know that’s what the PRA will also look at. Candidates with the full breadth of experience producing and submitting the full suite of CoRep returns are already in short supply, so the question is, do you continue to hang around for that perfect candidate to do a BAU role or do you accept that the landscape is changing and you’ll need to start future-proofing yourselves from potential PRA action? For more about our current roles, visit our jobs page.

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Not something someone wants to see coming from the PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority), however,

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Sanjay Chandwani

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Sanjay Chandwani

Sanjay Chandwani

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Sanjay Chandwani

Analytical study: An exploration on how to recruit a Member of  Parliament
Analytical study: An exploration on how to recruit a Member of Parliament

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Financial Services

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Market Insight Reports

09/12/19

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On December 12th 2019, the British public are the hiring managers for 650 very important roles. The process for electing new Members of Parliament is never short of criticism and, we as recruitment experts, want to share how we would apply our experience and knowledge to source the right person for this crucial role. This report is an exploration of how we would use our bespoke methods to hire a new Member of Parliament on behalf of the British public. Whenever we engage with a client on a search mandate, we have a consulting session with the hiring manager and HR to put together a bespoke and robust process that, partnered with their needs and our experience, will lead to a successful hire. In this instance, the hiring manager is circa 52 million people, and so we reached out to our candidates and clients asking them to complete a questionnaire on what they would be looking for in their Member of Parliament. We had a great response to our survey, with 161 responses in 48 hours. Thank you to all who participated. From the results, and wider data research, we have put together a guide including an MP job description, the proposed interview process, and specific questioning lines to get the most out of our potential candidates. Of course, this report is a bit of fun, however from exploring the way in which the current system works and looking intrinsically at our own internal processes, we believe there are a number of questions we should be asking ourselves with regards to, not just December 12th, but in the context of hiring in general. It is clear that in any hiring process, honesty, integrity and accountability are up-held at all times, and this could not be more accurate than during a General Election. This General Election is one of the most polarising political events of our life-time with several very clear issues dominating the race so far, including Brexit and the NHS. In an attempt to avoid alienation - and as this is an exercise in process and procurement - we elected to steer clear of any policy based questions; instead focusing on experience and character, and the results threw up some surprises! Download the full report here   Your member of parliament

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This report is an exploration of how we would use our bespoke methods to hire a new Member of Parliament on behalf of the British public.

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Thomas Wesseldine

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Thomas Wesseldine

Thomas Wesseldine

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Thomas Wesseldine

FX volatility | The bottom line, a guide by Western Union Business Solutions
FX volatility | The bottom line, a guide by Western Union Business Solutions

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Financial Services

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General

16/09/19

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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. With currency rates fluctuating up to five percent in a month last year, volatility is a real threat to any international business transaction. Five percent profit or gains in an investment are hard earned, and can be quickly lost with an unfortunate turn in the exchange rates. The uncertainty exacerbated by Brexit has caused hesitancy to purchase currency with a “wait and see” approach; dealing all FX on spot with their incumbent banking provider. But large swings in rates means that currency volatility and pricing have become higher on the agenda for many; highlighting the need to get the best from a reputable provider. Working to develop strategies based on the unique needs of a business or the requirements of each fund means budgeted levels can be set and protected. If you are trading internationally, you may want to speak to a qualified risk management consultant to consider the following steps: Understand your exposures Businesses could struggle to manage currency risk without understanding where exposures exist and reviewing what they currently do to protect themselves from volatility. Start by assessing your goals, risk appetite, and tolerance to volatility. Is there a budgeted level which is used for accounting purposes? Consider, for example, credit needs and payment requirements such as cost of transfers, bulk payments or international routing. Create a strategy With an understanding of your objectives, you have the power to start making informed decisions. Identify some goals specific to managing currency risk. These could include defining a target exchange rate for some, or all your exposure. Consider establishing a formal risk management policy to define processes. Select the right risk management tools for your business remembering that one size does not fit all. Tactics and execution Once the most appropriate tools have been selected, applying the right trading tactics can mean the difference between success and failure. For a lot of businesses, the strongest strategies often recognise a framework for executing trades at favourable levels while protecting against material risks. It may also be important to review the market and identify recent trading patterns to understand the risks and opportunities available. Evaluate and adapt your strategy Just because a policy has been in place for a long time does not necessarily mean it is still relevant in the current market conditions. Monitor your strategy and consider adapting it to identify shortfalls and build on success. Use a platform which can provide thorough and detailed reporting to assist your decision making. As a provider of cross-currency, cross border payments around the world, Western Union Business Solutions (WUBS) recognises that for a lot of our clients, foreign exchange volatility should be limited as a risk factor. WUBS can offer products which match your strategic currency objectives depending on the needs of your business. In addition, we offer competitive spot rates, optimal routing and cost effective transfers. Our globally leading online platform not only facilitates online payments and bulk upload but can also give real time access to positions and mark to market valuations. Our 10th edition of our highly regarded Market Insight Report represents the views of over 1,100 professionals, and contains insights from our specialist consultants and key business partners on market and employment trends. If you’re looking to find out more on salary benchmarking and the motivations driving the modern workforce today, download our full report which contains key contributions from Seddons Solicitors, Women in Fund Finance, Intoo UK & Ireland and Breaking the Silence.

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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.

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David Harvey

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David Harvey

David Harvey

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David Harvey

Market Insights 2019 | Yorkshire
Market Insights 2019 | Yorkshire

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Financial Services

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Market Insight Reports

28/08/19

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Commerce & Industry Our Yorkshire office achieved another record breaking performance last year, with private sector recruitment being the driving force. This trend is set to continue in the year ahead, with Yorkshire seemingly more resilient in the face of Brexit than some other regions. Transactional 2018 saw a number of factors that affected the transactional market and had a direct impact on how businesses recruit. Yorkshire has seen the fastest private sector growth of any city in the UK, making it a prime location for businesses who are looking to relocate and want to take advantage of an existing talent pool whilst reducing their operational costs. Specialist Markets Uncertainty has characterised Yorkshire specialist markets, and indeed all markets over the past 12 months, with the implications of possible Brexit scenarios front of mind for many organisations. With GDPR now a reality, organisations have been focusing on how to embed this into their processes. Compliance with the new regulations is a priority for senior stakeholders, and with many organisations still unsure of how to define the industry standard, we have seen increasing demand for junior auditors who can support the process. Professional Services Continued uncertainty about how Brexit is going to impact andshape the market has led to a cautious approach to recruitment within professional services across Yorkshire, particularly at the back end of 2018. While there has been a continuous work flow for Big 4 and Top 10 clients, senior recruitment and new roles across mid tier and small firms has been restrained. Change & Transformation The change management market was busy throughout last year, particularly on the permanent side. Activity has continued to rise this year, as companies look to bring skills in-house and reduce spend on interim and external consultancies. There have been some contract opportunities, mainly across systems implementation or business change. Resource requirements across finance, business and technology change projects have been relatively even. Executive & Interim Last year was a buoyant and encouraging year for the temporary and interim market across Yorkshire. It has, however, been a tough start to 2019, with slow progress for temporary employment and contractors increasingly turning to longer term opportunities in the accountancy and finance sectors. This is partly due to unpredictability around vacancies and when they will come available, together with an uncertain market and a slowing economy. Although this clearly presents its own challenges, it has proved to benefit professional interims as the market has become more candidate driven – making it possibly the perfect time to enter a contracting career. GUEST AUTHOR: INTOO UK & Ireland According to Bersin by Deloitte, ‘Organisations with senior leaders who coach effectively and frequently, improve their business results by 21% as compared to those who never coach.’ Coaching, therefore, should not just be a ‘nice to have’, more an indispensable part of a leader’s skillset. Read more from this guest author piece here. Download the full Yorkshire 2019 Market Insight Report »  View salaries and commentaries in other UK regions and Ireland »

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Our Yorkshire office achieved another record breaking performance last year, with private sector recruitment being the driving force.

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Rafi Davies

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Rafi Davies

Rafi Davies

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Rafi Davies

Market Insights 2019 | Financial Services, London
Market Insights 2019 | Financial Services, London

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Financial Services

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Market Insight Reports

28/08/19

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Insurance 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. Fintech 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. Regulatory 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. Download the full Financial Services 2019 Market Insight Report »  View salaries and commentaries in other UK regions and Ireland »

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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.

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David Harvey

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David Harvey

David Harvey

by

David Harvey

Market Insights 2019 | Ireland
Market Insights 2019 | Ireland

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Financial Services

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Market Insight Reports

28/08/19

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Commerce & Industry The market in Dublin has been one of varied fortunes over thepast year. Brexit has led to an influx of highly qualified, quality candidates and we have also seen a number of high profile UK businesses setting up their European headquarters here. On the other side of the coin, the SME landscape has shown caution and an understandable reluctance to hire senior and board level staff, due to the ongoing uncertainty. Fund Services Ireland retains its position as a dominant European Funds domicile. By December 2018, continued growth resulted in assets of €2.42 trillion under the management of Irish funds. Irish funds are distributed across more than 80 countries, and there are over 450 fund promoters across Asia, Europe, the USA, the Middle East, Africa and South America that have established funds in Ireland. We have seen significant annual asset value growth every year since 2008, and this trend looks certain to continue. IMI & Banking 2018 was a strong year for growth across financial services organisations. Brexit substantially impacted the Irish market, with large companies planning to relocate to Dublin, creating new roles at all levels. We are increasingly seeing these organisations looking for subject matter experts due to increased statutory requirements. This led to early-stage recruitment which we expect to continue into 2019. Public Practice & Taxation 2018 was another buoyant year in the accountancy practice arena, with practices of all sizes growing and creating opportunities across the board. We have seen a marked expansion across audit, taxation, consulting, and corporate finance departments throughout the year, from the Big 4 to small and medium sized practices. The focus is now on talent quality, with companies learning from knee-jerk, rushed hiring mistakes of the past and willing to wait for the right candidate. Download the full Ireland 2019 Market Insight Report »  View salaries and commentaries in other UK regions and Ireland »

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The market in Dublin has been one of varied fortunes over thepast year. Brexit has led to an influx of highly qualified, quality candidates and we have also seen a number of high profile UK businesses setting up their European headquarters here.

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Matthew Fitzpatrick

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Industry vs Practice: Which is best for you?
Industry vs Practice: Which is best for you?

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Financial Services

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General

19/08/19

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The professional accountancy bodies of UK and Ireland now boast more than half a million global members, with the accountancy profession contributing £59 billion to GDP in 2017 alone. It’s a crucial function of any modern society, particularly in the uncertain economic climate that has plagued the UK for the last few years. Activities and fees are high for accountants currently, and with accountancy and professional services firms consistently the biggest recruiters of graduates, it’s clear the demand for accountants remains high. While there are many considerations to make when it comes to entering or progressing your career in this field, one of the most important is whether you want to work in practice or industry. Both options – whether working in a firm of accountants or in-house - can lead to interesting and challenging work with opportunities for career development, but which is the right choice for you? Let’s explore both of these options. Practice Many accountants choose to start their careers working in practice, and the commercial appeal of the Big Four accountancy firms are continuing to make this option attractive to new accountants. We’ve seen some practice markets lose talent to industry in recent years, although the high standard of training accountants receive in practice will continue to appeal to both candidates and clients. This makes practice ideal for newly-qualified and qualified accountants who want to work with a range of clients across industries, developing technical skills and exposure to practices across service lines such as audit, tax and advisory. The variety in practice makes it extremely appealing, as does the client management element of most practice roles. The client-focused nature of practice means accounting professionals can hone their people skills while meeting the expectations and demands of their clients, building relationships and problem solving. There’s also a lot of learning to be done in practice, with a fast pace and mix of work, ensuring accountants are kept busy and engaged. Career development is an important consideration to make when you’re entering or progressing in this industry. Many accounting firms, aware of the risk of losing their top talent to practice, provide incentives like career progression and defined career paths, making it possible for professionals to develop more readily in this setting. Those who make it to partner level are generously financially rewarded, which can make this pathway more appealing to some, along with the potential exposure to senior stakeholders. Industry Industry, meanwhile, can see progression limited by both the size of the finance team and the overall ambitions of the company. However, some professionals experience a better work-life balance and less pressure working in industry compared to practice. Industry is often thought of as the final - and most appealing - destination for accountants, many of whom start in practice with the ultimate goal of moving to an in-house role in the wider business industry. Financially, industry tends to be more lucrative than practice. One 2018 survey revealed the average industry salary is 24% higher than practice, with our own market research showing that accountants with hands-on industry experience are more likely to secure commercially-focused roles, while technical positions are most suited to ACA professionals coming out of practice. While the salaries can be higher, however, the training and qualifications within industry tend not to be as comprehensive as within practice, where study packages such as the ATT and CTA are more commonplace. In terms of the style of work, industry accountants generally specialise in business economic matters such as cash flow, budgeting and cost control. Industry accounting professionals may specialise in management and cost accounting or financial accounting, with a more streamlined, focused workload than the variety seen in practice. Where practice professionals work with many different clients, industry allows you to hone in completely on the one organisation you work for, providing continuity and focus, as well as a more regulated workload. The specialised nature of industry accounting means professionals looking to move in-house need strong technical skills and a desire to focus on one core area of the finance function, adding value and commercial insight. Career pathways here can lead to Financial Director or Group Financial Director, with the ability to contribute wholeheartedly to the growth of the overall company. Find your next role with Marks Sattin Whether it’s the pace, variety and career path of practice you’re looking for or the focus, salary and stability of industry, we can help you make your next move. At Marks Sattin we specialise in matching the right candidates with the right organisations, whether you’re qualified, part qualified, newly qualified or interim. View our latest commerce and industry jobs and financial services jobs to find a role that suits your requirements or register as a candidate and start your search.

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The professional accountancy bodies of UK and Ireland now boast more than half a million global members, with the accountancy profession

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David Harvey

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David Harvey

David Harvey

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David Harvey

Financial Services Roundtable
Financial Services Roundtable

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Financial Services

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General

06/02/19

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We recently hosted a Financial Services Roundtable at the Aspire in Leeds. The participants were all heads of risk and audit as well as senior managers in financial services from a wide range of organisations including CPP, Call Credit, Lowell, Yorkshire Building Society, LSL Property Hitachi, Grant Thornton and the Skipton Building Society. The attendees discussed the trends that are affecting their profession and shared views, experiences and insights. Topics such as improvements in internal audit, operational resilience, audit resourcing and third party risk management were areas of interest, with guests noting key points like: The changing mind-set of internal audit towards the perception as a progressive, professional area with a career path The benefits and limitations of co-sourcing from beyond the Big Four  The potential effects of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime The increasing complexity of business models and the notion that third party risk management may require more attention Download our white paper that expands on this conversation. For more information on specialists markets or if you're looking for a new challenge or an organisation seeking additional expertise please email david.clamp@markssattin.com or call +44 (0)113 242 8177.  

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We recently hosted a Financial Services Roundtable at the Aspire in Leeds.

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David Clamp

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David Clamp

David Clamp

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David Clamp

Financial Services Opportunities in Surrey
Financial Services Opportunities in Surrey

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Financial Services

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General

24/01/19

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  I am delighted to join Marks Sattin to head up and develop our new Surrey office in Leatherhead. I have been connecting accountancy & finance professionals with great employers in Surrey for over ten years. Prior to finding my niche in the world of recruitment, I worked in a finance team within the construction industry. It was this work experience that has allowed me to offer another perspective to candidates and clients, as I can empathise with both through common experience. In my new role I will oversee both permanent and temporary recruitment within accountancy and finance, offering a multitude of solutions to the Surrey market. Our new team are excited to see what 2019 holds, and we are looking forward to engaging with new and old contacts and candidates alike.   An overview of the Surrey market The Surrey recruitment market is one of the most buoyant and fastest growing markets in the UK. There are multiple factors contributing to its growth, which have led to some exciting new industries in the area. Surrey comprises of multiple key towns outside of London where a number of global organisations have opted to relocate their head offices away from the city. The financial services sector is one of the biggest employers in Surrey, containing a mix of small start-ups to global blue chip organisations. This includes Allianz, which is headquartered in Guildford, as well as AXA in Cobham. As a result, financial and business services contribute to 27% of overall employment in Surrey. Other notable industries are Tech, FMCG, and Pharma, with many of the global players in these areas opting for UK/EU Head Offices in Surrey –  such as Sony, Samsung, Sanofi, EA, Unilever and Siemens, to name a few. Within accountancy and finance, there are several areas growing significantly faster than others. One of my new team members was able to offer a lot of insight into the part-qualified ‘active studier’ market, which last year was named 3rd fastest growing area across the whole of recruitment for the UK. With an increasing number of organisations opting to support their employees through supporting their ACCA/CIMA/ACA studies, this can be subsidised by the apprenticeship levy, and engages employees within an organisation. Commercial Finance is another notable growth area within accountancy and finance, because there is more focus on strategic planning and analysing trends to maximise on profit and minimise risk. For the next year, the market will continue to grow in these areas. With more talent moving out of the city, the quality of candidates in Surrey is increasing all the time. Therefore, in line with expectation, the Guildford area will continue to be in the top 3 hardest places to recruit in the UK for the 4th year running. How can Marks Sattin help? We are industry specialists in FS, FMCG, sport, manufacturing, insurance, education and many more, so we can give our candidates exposure to a variety of sectors. We work with a variety of clients, from FTSE 250 businesses to SMEs. As a result, we have the expertise to advise, problem solve and most importantly, find the best person for the role. Our network of candidates spans from junior transactional finance right up to C-suite. Typical roles include: Transactional Finance – Purchase Ledger, Credit Control Assistant Accountants Finance Analysts Management Accountants Senior Finance – Finance Manager, Financial Controllers Commercial Finance – Business Partners Technical Finance – Tax, VAT specialists, Stat Accountants Directors If you are recruiting for your team, looking for a new opportunity, or simply would like some current market information, please get in touch.

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For the next year, the market will continue to grow in these areas. With more talent moving out of the city, the quality of candidates in Surrey is increasing all the time.

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Rory Gallagher

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Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher

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Rory Gallagher