Pritesh Chudasama, Financial Crime recruitment expert and Principal Consultant at MERJE, talks about the current trends in his market.
First off, tell us about you.
I specialise in Anti-Financial Crime Recruitment, working extensively with Corporate and Investment Banks, Asset and Wealth Managers, Brokerages and Professional Service firms. I also support MERJE's wider client base as needed.
What are you looking forward to in the future of your career with MERJE?
Now that I'm an established member of the business, I'd like, over time, to be involved in the strategic conversations on how the company moves forward, with a focus on representing and growing the Financial Crime desk.
What trends have you noticed in the Financial Crime recruitment market recently?
The market has been very buoyant across all disciplines in financial services. People are back in the office, and the trains, roads and footpaths are heaving with people at lunchtime again.
Many hiring processes were put on hold back in March 2020, and now, with more of the UK workforce back onsite and internal meetings finally taking place, it seems like recruitment is a priority once again.
The regulator has also been proactive in pushing its agenda forward. As a result, MLROs are working hard to ensure controls and frameworks are adequately in line with expectations. With MLROs being held more and more accountable for their functions, it has also impacted increased hiring.
More recently, the unfortunate situation in Ukraine is having a huge impact on FS firms that have Russian or Belarusian exposure. Several firms have collapsed or will do by the end of the year. Financial crime teams, especially the sanctions teams, are working tirelessly to ensure they can keep their firm in line with the ever-changing landscape resulting in several sanctions professionals saying that they have had to work longer than regular hours.
I have also seen a big push for bolstering financial crime teams in the 1st line of defence, focusing on onboarding/KYC or advisory professionals to provide advice and guidance to the business. I have helped several firms reinforce their functions over the last six months.
What advice would you give to employers who are recruiting in the current market?
Flexible working has become an integral part of the financial services industry here in London. Some larger banks have adopted a schedule of one to two days a week in the office, but most FS firms are doing two to three days at most. To stay relevant in the hiring market, it is important for every business to have a clear, flexible working policy in place and, preferably, a pro-flexibility one!
This isn't to say that you won't attract any suitable candidates, but you will have very limited options. Our own research found that 3 in 4 candidates would decline a job offer if flexible working wasn’t an option.
On the flip side, there is a community of people who want to be in the office and can't. These people are itching to get some in-person interaction and mingle after work over a drink, so offering those opportunities for teams to get together is vital.
Favourite MERJE moment so far?
Our summer trip to Barcelona in 2019, by far!
Describe MERJE in three words.
Cool, collaborative and successful.
What have you been watching recently?
If you would like to discuss how Pritesh can support your hiring plans or job search in the Financial Crime arena, get in touch.