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Compliance professionals in the spotlight: most in-demand profiles revealed

At a time of increasingly stringent regulations and increasing complexity in the compliance environment, both industrial companies and organisations within the financial services industry are facing the challenge of adapting their recruitment strategies to attract and retain top talent.  

 Stephen Fournier and Olivier van Outryve d'Ydewalle, respectively senior consultant for permanent positions and principal for interim management assignments at international recruitment firm Robert Walters, share their expertise and highlight the most in-demand profiles within compliance.   

 Key compliance challenges    

 "The rapid development of compliance requirements and increasingly stringent legislation result in an increasing complexity of this field," notes Olivier. "This includes, for example, specific quality standards and regulations in sectors such as food, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The tight labour market, plagued by a shortage of qualified professionals, and increased skill requirements for compliance experts complicate the recruitment process for industrial organisations in these sectors."  

"In addition, financial crime is on the rise as a result of digitalisation and credit institutions need to address this challenge more than ever," Stephen adds. "The search for suitable candidates from the financial services sector is also limiting the available talent pool."   

In-demand skills and expertise   

"Finding the right talent can be a challenge. Financial services firms are looking for experts in 'Know your Customer' (KYC), anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-corruption. Candidates with overlapping skills within compliance and IT who can enhance regulatory technology (RegTech) are particularly sought after," Stephen explains.   

Organisations within financial services need candidates with a thorough understanding of legislation and experience in both internal and external reporting. Ideally, these professionals will have already worked with bodies such as the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA).   

"Experience in auditing or consulting, for example within a 'Big 4' environment, is invaluable. Professionals with a strong audit background are coveted for compliance roles, both within the financial services and industrial sectors," Olivier said.  

Four most sought-after profiles in compliance   

Before going into specific functions in the compliance field, it is important to stress that in practice there are several job titles that are often used synonymously. The exact title may vary from company to company. Some of the most commonly requested job profiles in the compliance sector are presented below as examples.  

1. Head of Compliance   

Stephen: "The Head of Compliance acts as an advisor and plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance with all relevant legal requirements. He or she ensures that the organisation avoids legal risks and potential sanctions. Duties include developing and implementing compliance programmes, training employees and leading compliance audits. Thus, this role contributes to customers', investors' and employees' confidence in the company."   

Olivier: "Given the significant responsibility of this position, a lengthy search for the right candidate can be pernicious for the organisation. Interim management can offer a suitable solution: the interim manager bridges the transition period with a temporary assignment, until a permanent employee is found."  

2. Compliance Manager   

"Through his monitoring and leadership role, the compliance manager ensures that compliance requirements are met, both within the company and vis-à-vis external authorities and stakeholders," says Stephen. "He or she is often responsible for drafting and implementing compliance policies, identifying breaches and taking corrective action. Transparency is essential to maintain the trust of all stakeholders and ensure the integrity of the financial services provider."

"This position can also - depending on the needs of the organisation - be filled by an interim manager," says Olivier. "This can be in the context of a replacement, but we also see, for example, growing organisations calling on interim managers to improve the operation of the compliance department, or even to build the compliance department from scratch."  

3. KYC analyst   

"The KYC (Know Your Customer) analyst plays a crucial role in protecting both the financial services provider and its customers from fraud and identity theft," says Stephen. "By accurately verifying customer data, including personal information, financial transactions and business relationships, legal risks can be minimised. Besides verifying customer identity and assessing potential risks, due diligence is also one of its key tasks."   

4. AML Analyst or AML Officer  

"AML stands for Anti-Money Laundering, or measures to prevent money laundering," Stephen explains. "These professionals are responsible for monitoring financial transactions, identifying suspicious activity and ensuring that the organisation complies with all anti-money laundering regulations. By complying with these regulations, they help protect the financial services provider from legal repercussions and potential reputational damage," Olivier knows.


Are you a compliance professional?

Consult our recent compliance vacancies or interim compliance assignments. Compare your salary with those of similar profiles with our digital Salary Survey tool.

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Find out more by contacting one of our specialist recruitment consultants

Contact us

Olivier van Outryve d'Ydewalle  
Specialist in interim management opdrachten
T: +32 497 52 66 80

Stephen Fournier
Specialist in permanente rollen
T: +32 471 61 16 06

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