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Jobs in finance: corporate banking and treasury to out-perform in 2004 Back  
Recruitment in financial services remained steady over 2003, writes Ronan Colleran, who expects a greater volume of activity in the market in 2004, boosted by companies such as Merrill Lynch, who will significantly expanded their operations this year.
TTThe banking and finance market remained robust over the past year despite a poor global economic outlook at the start of 2003 that resulted in slow recruitment activity in this sector over the first six months of the year. In addition, there was less confidence among accountants and banking professionals to move employment given the market conditions, which contributed to limiting the volume of opportunities.

On the supply side, Irish candidates working in London and New York returned home due to downturn in those particular markets in 2003 and made competition for opportunities here more intense.

Overall, banking sector salaries increased by 4.5 per cent over the year. Financial Services salaries were slightly higher and rose by 6 per cent. Specific sectors badly affected due to global downturn such as stockbroking, insurance related and structured finance.

The second half of 2003 showed a significant growth in recruitment activity and this has lead into a strong start to 2004. The new -year commenced with large number of IFSC companies beginning to re-invest in their intellectual capital again with new projects being approved at group level that had been shelved over the previous two years. In addition the domestic banks have begun to focus on developing and investing in their growth areas such as private banking and property lending.

Specialist areas performing well include corporate banking, treasury, international and domestic lending, fund management, settlements, shareholder services, global custody and investment administration. Confidence has been further boosted with positive decisions by major global organisations such as GE Capital to establish a new treasury operation in Dublin as well as Merrill Lynch committing to expanding their operation here.

Significantly, corporate finance houses, a good barometer of the market conditions, have started the year well with a number of good opportunities arising. This is the first time in over 12 months that a significant number of corporate finance roles have appeared on the market. Candidates returning from a period of work in the UK with the investment banks are now finding a number of good opportunities in these areas to greet them on their return.

Recent events in Ireland and globally has brought about the requirements for greater accountability and responsibilities at a corporate level. This has filtered down throughout organisations and has lead to a significant increase in investment by companies in their regulatory, compliance, operational risk and internal audit functions. There is expected to be a large amount of activity in these specialist areas in the year ahead. For example, although the deadline for Basel II is 1 January 2006, banks will also have to show two year’s worth of historical data.

In addition, the standardisation of international accounting practices with the introduction of International Accounting Standards will result in number of project roles for qualified accountants during 2004. These types of roles will be a good springboard into banking for candidates who are considering moving from public practice to banking, as it will give them a good overall understanding of the bank and the importance of the projects will ensure senior management exposure. Overall, the outlook is good for the year ahead with a greater volume of recruitment activity expected across the banking and financial services sector.

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