Why Risk and Compliance is a great career choice

After the Banking and Finance Royal Commission, the world of risk and compliance has changed. Risk and compliance roles have become more interesting, sophisticated and complex. I’m seeing these roles in huge demand across Australia as they become an integral part of all line functions including sales, operations, oversight and senior management.

Financial services companies have sat up and are paying attention to the severe penalties that relate to non-compliance of regulations and employee misconduct. They are investing in teams to help them meet their obligations, monitor internal performance and build relationships with the regulators. They are keen to minimise any further negative publicity, enforceable undertakings, fines or threats to their licenses.

The Hayne Banking and Finance Royal Commission

The Royal Commission delivered tales of fees for no services, greed and accounts of treating consumers unfairly. It also determined that regulators were ill equipped to scrutinise cultures, remuneration and ethics.

The 76 recommendations handed down by the commission has led to an explosion of remediation projects. What’s more, it handed down regulatory changes that have to be embedded into policies, procedures, operations and corporate culture. This massive implementation task requires resourcing with risk and compliance expertise.

In a post Royal Commission industry, financial services companies also have to deal with higher expectations from consumers. Consumers expect that they will do the right thing and act in their best interests. Companies need ways of operationalising regulatory changes and monitoring their performance so that they meet these expectations.

An Increase in Demand for Expertise

On the back of the Royal Commission, I’ve seen a significant increase in demand for compliance and risk professionals. This has led to a skills shortage for these roles in every Australian financial services location including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. There are more compliance committees, risk committees, internal audit committees than ever before. There are significantly more checks and balances to manage in a post Royal Commission world.

This means there’s demand for leaders with business and line management operational risk experience who are keen to explore the career pathways in risk and compliance. In times of skills shortages it can be a great opportunity to consider a change in career direction.

Another factor impacting demand for these roles is the increased rates of cyber fraud and scrutiny relating to money laundering. The penalties for non-compliance are severe. The need to manage risks around fraud and Austrac reporting requirements are obligations financial services companies take seriously and have resourced accordingly.

Career Pathways in Risk and Compliance

Risk and compliance careers in the past have had a lacklustre reputation. Candidates have shared tales with me about not wanting to be the “police officer” of an organisation, or about feeling less than popular with their peers. Perceptions, however, are changing.

Risk is often the function that is involved on the ground floor in history making and watershed moments. Many a banking risk professional tells a story about the day Lehman Brothers folded and how their organisation responded.

Those ambitious professionals managing current remediation projects are set to have excellent “achievements’ to note on future resumes. Risk Managers are the first to be invited to a war room or to a high level situational analysis and they often have good access to senior management. It is a profession full of pressure, adrenalin and opportunities to shine.

I’m also observing a good increase in the business support being offered to risk and compliance professionals. Senior Management have become very aware as to their value particularly as they relate to reputation management and preventing losses.

With an increase in flexible working arrangements being offered to attract high quality risk and compliance candidates, there’s also opportunities arising for shorter working week, working from home or staggered starting and finish times.

Risk and Compliance Career Opportunities

My team and I are always on the look out for talented and professional risk and compliance staff. This year alone we’ve filled analyst, manager and senior risk officer roles for banks, non-banks, insurers and finance companies. It is a great time to be a risk and compliance professional!

To discuss your career opportunities and to discover roles that are either exclusive to Oxygen Recruitment and HR or not yet on the market, please reach out to me here on LinkedIn. I can help you take the next step in your Risk and Compliance career.