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Ross Sailes, Manager | Financial Services Operations

What Is The Main Trend You Foresee For Financial Services Operations?

We have seen one significant trend already this year, and we anticipate it will continue throughout 2018. Institutions are notably bulking up their Middle Office teams – especially reconciliations and clearing – following the go-live of MiFID II at the start of January. These reinforced teams will also help with rectifying any STP issues created by implementation.

How Is The Financial Services Operations Sector Looking With The Progression Of Brexit Policies?

Despite extensive press coverage surrounding uncertainty of the Financial Services in London amid Brexit, such as firms moving processes away from the UK, operations are yet to really be affected. Clients are still at the planning stage, so no decisions have been made as far as we can see. If the government establishes deals with the European Union, matters may well change over the coming year.

At Present, Is There A High Demand For Certain Roles Within Financial Services Operations? And Why?

As highlighted in the first question, MiFID II has played a key role in hiring trends. The new directive has resulted in the frequent requirement for roles around MiFID II. On top of this, there has been a significant demand for individuals to fill derivative trade support roles, where it is necessary for candidates to have detailed derivatives knowledge.

What Skills And Attributes Are Particularly Desirable In Financial Services Operations At The Moment?

Clients have focussed some of their attention on attracting graduates or those seeking second jobs. However, any candidate who can prove themselves as a quick learner, are able to articulate the direction they want their career to head and clearly add valuable ideas from the start, will be in the best position to secure a role.

Candidates should continue to look at additional qualifications in order to help them secure the most interesting opportunities and advance their careers. Typically, these would be IMC, IOC or the CFA depending on the direction sought. For an immediate impact, candidates should be looking to add VBA, SQL or advanced Excel to their CV through short courses.

What Are The Current Salary Bands Looking Like In Comparison To Recent Years?

As of the start of 2018, salaries are very much looking the same as previous years. 2017 has been an interesting year for operations given the MiFID II deadline and the offshoring within middle and back office functions across a lot of Tier 1 financial services institutions. A number of the Tier 1 investment banks have been recruiting but not at the same volumes of the Tier 1 asset managers. This has been welcomed by candidates keen to make the move across to the buy side in order to secure themselves a more stable working environment. Permanent roles have been steady throughout the year in a variety of areas but busier areas include client services and performance analysis. Candidates have enjoyed the diversity of roles coming through and are ever increasingly looking to diversify their experience and skill sets to set them apart from the competition.

 Overall, due to the competitive nature of last year and so far this year, there has been a demand from clients to see standout candidates who differentiate themselves from previous individuals they’ve hired. The areas primarily include European language skills, CFA exams and strong VBA abilities.

What One Piece Of Advice Would You Give Someone Currently Looking For A Job In Financial Services Operations?

Quite simply, you can really benefit from taking an Excel course to sharpen up your spreadsheet skills. It also pays to update your LinkedIn profile with the most recent experience you have gained and connect to people in the industry; a strong network is always useful.

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