Stephanie Tancredi, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services Recruitment – Compliance division, was quoted in an article sent out in ACA Compliance Group’s industry newsletter, ACA Insight. In the article, written by ACA’s Robert Sperber, Stephanie commented on the strong demand for investment adviser and hedge fund compliance candidates in the New York metropolitan area.
You can read the article below:
It’s a Compliance Officer’s Job Market…If You’re in the Right Location
By Robert Sperber
If you’re looking for almost any kind of compliance job in the investment advisory or hedge fund field and you’re located in an industry geographic hot spot, you should have plenty of opportunities to choose from.
“There’s been a sharp uptick in compliance hiring since March of last year,” when private fund advisers were required by Dodd-Frank to register with the SEC, according to Stephanie Tancredi, director of financial services – compliance at The Execu|Search Group. The firm, which primarily serves the New York metropolitan area and greater Boston, specializes in, among other industries, investment advisory firms and hedge fund managers. Recruiters “can’t seem to find enough strong investment adviser and hedge fund compliance candidates,” she said.
But leave the New York area, where most investment advisory and hedge fund firms are located, and the situation is less rosy.
One hedge fund in the Boston area looked for a chief compliance officer recently and received nearly 150 applications from qualified individuals, said Shannon Behara, partner at ACA Compliance Group. Locations like Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles have some jobs, but nothing like New York and southern Connecticut, where it is more of a compliance officer’s market.
Tougher regulations + tougher enforcement = compliance officer jobs
If you’re looking for work in the New York metropolitan area, there are three people you might want to thank: former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), and, not to be forgotten, President Obama.
These three individuals are largely responsible for much of the regulatory climate that investment advisers face today. “Even fund managers that view compliance as a cost center and don’t enjoy spending money on it want to dot their i’s and cross their t’s,” said Tancredi, “to show regulators that they take compliance seriously.”
The increase in demand for compliance officers pre-dates the hedge fund registration requirement and really began with the passage of Dodd-Frank in 2010, Tancredi said, and then jumped again when President Obama won reelection in 2012, which let the investment management industry know that the new regulatory climate was here to stay.
Dodd-Frank started the compliance train rolling, Behara said, but thinks much of that energy has now “dissipated,” at least in terms of hiring chief compliance officers. Now, the emphasis is more on firms finding junior compliance people to staff compliance departments.
All sizes and all types
The calls Tancredi gets these days come predominantly from employers seeking compliance employees, rather than the other way around. A number of factors, among them fund size, determine where they find their candidates. Large funds, those with $10 billion or more in assets under management, can afford the large compensation packages demanded by attorneys at prominent firms. Small funds, those with less than $1 billion in assets under management, may seek their new CCOs from compliance consulting firms or from investment advisers and hedge fund managers themselves. Those companies that fall between these two ranges may choose either course, depending on their circumstances. In addition, some firms prefer to hire attorneys, while others do not.
What makes the job market worse for employers – and better for those seeking compliance positions – is the lack of in-house talent smaller hedge funds and investment advisory firms have to choose from, Tancredi said. They often can’t promote from within, which means that strong compliance professionals move up the ranks quickly, and have several offers to choose from. Established banks may require a candidate to have 20 or more years of experience to qualify as a CCO and can often find that person in-house, but hedge funds may take someone with 5-10 years experience from a competing fund. Another option smaller firms are considering is tacking compliance responsibilities onto the job of an existing chief financial officer or other executive.
Compliance officers are among the best jobs to have in 2013, according to a recently published U.S. News and World Report, although its ranking did not distinguish between industries. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks compliance officer salary by industry, nonetheless groups all investment compliance jobs under “securities and commodities exchanges,” which would include lower-paying broker-dealer positions, and reported an annual mean wage of $80,640 for May 2012, which seems low, said Behara. Simply Hired reported an average salary of $107,000 for compliance officers at registered investment advisers as of July 25, 2013, which Behara said is probably closer to the true average, though she added that it varies widely by type of firm and location.
©2013-2014 ACA Insight and ACA Compliance Group. Reproduced with permission of the publisher.