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MERJE Meet MERJE, Compliance

Meet MERJE is a series of interviews with members of the MERJE team discussing their experiences of recruiting in their specialist market.

Meet Kirstie Burn, Director, who manages the Compliance and Financial Crime teams in MERJE's London office.

How long have you been at MERJE?

I have been managing the Compliance & Financial Crime function of MERJE’s London office since 2014, so coming up to five years. Before MERJE, I worked in recruitment for 14 years, of which nine were in Finance and Accountancy recruitment and then five years in the Regulatory Risk, Compliance and Financial Crime space.

What kind of roles do you recruit for?

I focus on the Retail Banking & Financial Services side of the market, recruiting Regulatory Risk and Compliance professionals. I recruit Heads of Compliance and SMF16- and SMF 17-level positions, as well as roles within Policy, Assurance Monitoring and Regulatory Affairs. Basically, the across-the-board seniority range from Analyst to Senior Management, my sweet spot being Manager to C-Suite and Director roles.

How has the market changed during your time recruiting within it?

As I've been in search and recruitment for quite a long time, I’ve seen a lot of change within Financial Services! The financial downturn encouraged me to move from Finance recruitment into Compliance because I saw a fantastic opportunity for introducing good quality Compliance people to help turn around the problems the industry faced.

Other significant changes include the FSA becoming the FCA, and also the OFT regulated Consumer Credit market being moved under the regulatory control of the FCA. The last few years has seen this disruption create more innovative digital platforms and the growth of new FS firms in the FinTech space. This in turn has brought about a huge amount of opportunity for hiring more innovative, agile and operationally focused Compliance people.

What advice do you have for job seekers in the Compliance market?

I always tailor my advice to the individual with whom I am dealing, whether they are looking for a career move, wanting to further skills and strengths, or wanting to position themselves based on where they want to be in five years. My advice is often about where their gaps sit and what they need to secure in skills and experience to make sure they are a credible Candidate at that stage in their career and can secure the role they want.

If they are looking to go into a more senior role then it is often the breadth of stakeholder management experience that is significant, as well as the opportunities that they have had to work at Executive and Board-level, such as working with C-Suite and sitting on committees which is important to highlight.

The Compliance market is generally looking for people who are more commercially minded than the old-school police-style, focused purely on tick box checking. It's now important to have a person in Compliance who enables business success and growth.

Banks, Building Societies and firms with a successful operating model have Compliance at the heart of ensuring their policies, systems and controls enable the firm to operate profitably and efficiently within the guidelines of the regulatory framework. This culture piece and focus on Conduct Risk is integral to their success as firms need people who can demonstrate their wider understanding of the customer experience of the financial products available.

Why MERJE?

I manage the London Compliance & Financial Crime team so I am often talking about why people should work for MERJE. One major reason is that we are really unique in the search and recruitment market and hence why many people choose to work here. We attract consultants with a number of years’ experience in the recruitment industry as we have a truly grown-up, mature working environment.

We partner with people who are successful in their industries and therefore have a true sense of pride in the quality of service that we provide and this is what we are known for. Our reputation within the recruitment industry is very positive - we offer a flexible workplace that focuses on output rather than how many hours you’ve been on the phone or how many KPI's you’re hitting. The overall measure is the reputation and success that our consultants bring to the business.

The reason Candidates and Clients choose to work with MERJE is for similar reasons. We are quality-driven. We want to be different – recruitment companies tend to offer the same services and products, but what we focus on is ensuring that we follow up on everything we promise with our Client- and Candidate-driven approach. We want to be honest and upfront about realistic outcome expectations as well as the advice we provide around the directions someone's career can go or how a recruitment engagement piece should move forward.

To contact Kirstie to discuss your Compliance and Financial Crime recruitment or career needs in London, please call 0203 637 1603 or email kburn@merje.com.