By Paul Reynolds, Partner, Green Park Interim and Executive Search

April 4,2014 : The hot growth areas for senior search mandates within financial services in 2014 are largely dictated by political and regulatory changes, technology simplification and digital along with governance, risk and compliance.

In compliance, the current emphasis is on what to do about controlled functions and adherence within banks and financial Institutions.

As a result, we are seeing a growing demand for Global Heads of Compliance along with specialist regional heads across the Americas, EMEA and Asia with a growing unproven trend from client side organisations hiring senior executives from regulators to lead compliance functions.

Additionally, financial crime, AML, and MLRO hires are being made across most financial institutions especially within organisations that have suffered from global fines of varying types.

Banks are still recovering from the spate of derivatives trading scandals and Libor and this focus combined with Basel III is still driving roles for Chief Risk Officers and Heads of Conduct Risk.

In both functions there is a call for individuals with technical expertise combined with the ability to work with senior regulators.

Universal banks continue to focus on cost pressures especially with those firms still biased to capital markets who need to scale infrastructure relevant to their income lines.

The revolution in mobile banking continues apace and cyber-security is a preoccupation as banks and financial services organisations invest in the development of robust infrastructures in a bid to prevent cyber-crime and protect their customers as they pioneer and shape omni-channel strategies.

Senior cyber professionals are highly sought after and can command their own salaries.

An increasingly global marketplace with more and more people managing their finances on-line via mobile, tablet and desktop means that financial services companies have to interact with their customers more, improve transparency whilst maintaining a focus on cost and accountability.

Therefore there is an increase in board level representation for customer experience and distribution executives to define strategies with their customers at the heart of their evolving philosophies.

It’s not just in banking that the continuing digital revolution is driving change and growth.

It is also having a significant impact in the insurance, asset management, investment management, wealth management and private banking sectors. Here, organisations are completely re-vamping their technology architectures to deal with next generation of thinking. As a result, there is a call for professionals with the skills to define channel, product and marketing strategies tailored specifically for their bespoke customer needs.

In the same way, Big Data is forcing data-centric organisations to re-consider how best to leverage their customer information causing infrastructure to be challenged, re-designed and simplified to support leverageable data which can be linked to marketing and channel strategies to benefit customers.

There is increased demand for marketing professionals with a social media background who can help financial services institutions to develop a strategy around social media. There are strong career opportunities for professionals who can help them to embed customer relationships and customer experience – restoring much-needed confidence across the sector and provide an outlook towards both current and the future generation of technology users from school age through to silver surfers.

In terms of interim management there are short term gaps to deliver turnaround, project rescue, specialist support and strategic advisory to boards and senior leaders to challenge their own conventional thinking whilst still reducing cost, improving processes, becoming lean and agile to

The common denominator is that insurers, banks and other financial service providers realise that they finally have to invest in defining and refining the customer experience at every stage of the life-cycle in order to stay relevant for the customer of today and for the future as consumer choice evolves.

Source: Director of Finance Online