Spike in risk management contractor demand

Monday 18 August 2014

Contractors who specialise in financial risk management are in demand among retail banks and insurers.

This is according to figures from specialist recruiter MERJE, which said that the demand for umbrella company contractors has been on the rise following changes to regulatory protocols Solvency II and Basel III.

Director of MERJE Richard Abelson said in a statement: "There is a significant need for risk managers who understand the current regulatory environment and have the ability to anticipate and interpret how these changing requirements will impact businesses."

Solvency II is a set of reforms focussed on the insurance sector that has been applied to businesses working across the European Union. As part of this, companies must put stronger risk management procedures in place.

Basel III is a set of banking reforms that have been put in place to make the sector more transparent, to improve regulation and to make sure stronger risk management procedures are implemented.

The contractors and permanent staff who are most in demand are those who have a strong knowledge of regulations as well as thorough analytical skills and exposure to Basel rules. According to MERJE, demand for these contractors has risen by 22 per cent in the last year.

Nevertheless, there are fears of a skills shortage in this field as it seems that employers in the financial services sector are unable to find candidates with the right regulatory and analytical skills. As such, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to meet the ever increasing demands for talent.

Mr Abelson: “Despite demand, there is a limited pool of candidates in the financial services sector with the analytical skills and regulatory exposure to fill these jobs, making it increasingly difficult for employers to meet the escalating demand for talent.”

A spokesman for MERJE explained that the statistics gathered were based on the kinds of roles that were coming through the agency and, overall, there had been a noticeable increase.

In spite of the rise in candidates, the London-based principal consultant in risk management for MERJE, Priya Mariannie, said that pay rates in the banking and insurance sector have yet to rise in line with the increasing demand for these contractors and employees with niche specialisms. However, they have been increasing on other sectors that are seeking finance specialist staff, which may make these jobs more attractive to workers.

Ms Mariannie explained that salary packages have been proving a tricky issue in the financial services sector because of the level of regulatory burden attached to them. As a result, many employers have been looking to contract workers rather than permanent staff to fill these roles. Additionally, they have looked to experienced consultancies.

She also suggested that those who work under an umbrella company may be at an advantage when it comes to finding work. A number of businesses in the banking and insurance industry will be looking to recruiters who already have established networks in these areas to find potential candidates. They may be helped to find those who are not necessarily looking for work.

By Victoria McDonnell

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