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Increasing compliance requirements are driving compliance officer salaries up by €10,000 Back  
Workers in Ireland’s financial services sector can look forward to strong bonus payments, increased job prospects and in many cases increased pay packets in 2006, according to a new salary survey by Joslin Rowe, which also reveals that the impact of the Financial Regulator has ensured that basic salaries for compliance officers and managers have increased by up to €10,000.
The Irish financial services industry has experienced further increases in salaries over the past year, as the job market has become increasingly competitive. Salaries have risen industry wide as the pool of skilled employees becomes smaller and smaller.

The big winners are those working in compliance, accountancy and funds, as a shortage of experienced professionals.

Compliance professionals in the insurance industry, are even having positions moulded around their skill sets, while those in funds are securing multiple job offers, and have benefited from salary increases of as much as 20 per cent.

According to the survey, a very significant number (67 per cent) of these firms are expecting to increase headcount during the remainder of 2005 into 2006.

According to Paul Cotter, managing director of Joslin Rowe in Dublin, ‘Offering competitive salaries is key in the fight to attract the best domestic talent into the market or indeed to Dublin. Although in real terms salaries are still lower than the lower than the London markets (generally held up as the top financial centre) they have significantly risen over the years’.

The survey questioned 75 employers and 171 people working in the financial services sector on a variety of topics.

Accountancy and finance
In the last year the number of accountancy vacancies has continued to increase across all sectors from commerce and industry through to financial services. This upsurge, has resulted in strong opportunities for career progression for active job seekers. (see Table 1).

Salaries have responded by rising especially at the newly qualified level, where remuneration packages have pushed towards the €50,000 mark from a previous range of €40-45,000. However, bonuses have remained at similar levels to the last few years.

Another impact of the boom has been the increased interest of financial services clients in job seekers from the commerce and industry sector, especially those with expert financial accounting and management accounting experience. All indicators show that the number of accountancy positions will remain high for the next year.

Banking & global custody
Remuneration packages across the banking sector have increased due to the candidate shortages, which continue to dog this marketplace. Entry-level salaries have risen by €2,000 from €20,000 whilst benefit provisions have also increased across the board. Banking professionals with settlements experience remain most in demand at all levels from administrators to supervisors and managers. (see table 2).

Custody recruitment has also seen a marked increase over a number of months and candidates with 2-5 years of experience have been highly sought after. Many companies are trying to solve recruitment issues through in-house training and also trying to entice newly graduated applicants.

Compliance and legal
The Financial Regulator is making its presence felt with recruitment levels showing a definite increase, with a more significant increase in insurance than banking. The big problem in this sector remains the lack of experience amongst candidates. Mid-management is the hardest position to source especially at the €40,000 to €55,000 bracket. Salaries are rising slowly but the increments remain quite small.

Corporate banking
Responding from the previous year’s depressed market corporate banking has bounced back. The sector’s swagger has returned and recruitment is on the up. Particularly desired are corporate banking professionals with strong credit skills and private wealth banking knowledge. There is a significant skills shortage that even rising salaries has done little to remedy.

Hedge funds
Joslin Rowe research has shown that amongst candidates receiving multiple job offers, almost 90 per cent will opt for a hedge fund position over an investment management role. (see table 4)

Hedge funds are willing to target those with a mutual funds background and offer training products. The sheer volumes of recruitment within this burgeoning industry have necessitated a dedicated focus towards graduate hires in order to ease the inevitable candidate shortfall. For experienced candidates, the outlook is exceptionally strong with most high calibre funds professionals able to take their pick of the jobs.

Insurance (domestic market)
There has been a strong demand in the Dublin insurance sector for skilled compliance professionals, and salaries have sky-rocketed to reach an all time high. The top candidates have been snapped up and the original vacancy moulded around their experience level. Brokers demanding account handlers and executives have sent salaries up. And in other areas of the industry such as domestic underwriting and claims market the levels have remained consistent.

Insurance (IFSC)
Demand for staff remains strong, across all sectors, as has been the case for a number of years. There is an increase in the number of new companies within the captive sector. These tend to be specialist captives that are being used by a wide variety of financial institutions.

Accountants also remain in very high demand, however the industry is not attracting as many newly qualifieds as the banking sector. Casualty, financial lines and captive executives still remain the most sought after and jobs are still being created for people who can add value to a business.

Demand for stockbroking professionals has increased significantly on early 2005 levels and looks set to continue for the remainder of the year and into 2006.

Candidates with reconciliations and settlements experience are highly sought after, and salaries have thus increased across the board except for graduate packages, which have remained at 2004 levels.

The survey records an enormous demand for fund administration and fund accounting professionals, with the shortfall of candidates resulting in companies hiring graduates and training them in-house. Salary increases have been as much as 20 per cent.

There has also been a real increase in the number of shareholder services and transfer agency vacancies
available in the marketplace compared to job volume records from early 2005. Job seekers with the right skill sets have generally found themselves with multiple job offers at the end of the recruitment process within this area.

Investment management firms are, however, trying to compete with the hedge funds industry for talent and if they are to succeed salaries will need to rise to match hedge fund levels.

Life and pensions
Recruitment within the life and employee benefits market has remained busy especially across pensions, mortgages and compliance positions. Life underwriters and pension professionals have been highly demanded with some life underwriters’ salaries increasing by between 25 per cent and 30 per cent.
Part-qualified actuaries with a few year’s experience have also seen their salaries escalate as companies move to retain these valuable employees.

The report sees a continued recruitment rise in this sector over the next six months as companies’ group pension schemes and group PRSA schemes continue to expand.

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