Brexit – Not all doom and gloom for Financial Services in London

Don’t fret

An irony resulting from the perceived panic about Brexit is that, according to a variety of sources, the financial services market in London is in fact likely to grow. A salad of articles citing businesses such as PwC, CityUK and even the maligned and admittedly inconsistent Mark Carney, governor of the BoE, has stated that, with the right structure, the “City” could grow exponentially in the next quarter of a century.

Many of these claims are somewhat hypothetical and unscientific, yet a more empirical approach seems to back up the optimism. In Badenoch and Clark’s London office, we saw an increase in positions ranging from treasury, liquidity, financial reporting, management accounting and fund accounting. These positions resided within big banks, small funds, real estate investment and investment management. This January, one of the first emails I received, on my return from a debauched and morbid Christmas, was a requirement for an experienced interim regulatory candidate with a major name in Financial Services.

2017 vs 2018

In contrast, according to figures but also to anecdotal evidence from colleagues longer in the tooth than me, Q1 last year was comparatively silent. The aftermath of Brexit and its apocalyptic premonitions, meant that the financial services world especially preached frugality for nearly a year. Costs were cut and budgets were tightened, one consequence of which was a running theme of small gaps in candidate CVs from 2016-17.

Legislation and convention have also increased the activity. The ubiquity of IFRS9, a new accounting standard for investment banking products, has seen a rapid and urgent need for knowledgeable and technically gifted accountants. The direct implication of IFRS9 has also forced many clients to make decisions quicker given the wide choices many candidates will have for their next interim/permanent assignment. It has become a candidate-led market.

Convention is where Brexit comes into play once more. Pre-emptive strategy along with the need to mitigate risk has led Financial Services businesses to hire. In London, we have seen: tax roles specifically about Brexit, policy implementation about Brexit, and reporting standards and entity control related to Brexit. Despite it being a sour word to many in our industry, Brexit has in some ways axiomatically led to concrete jobs.

What is the outlook for 2018?

Now we come to spring. The end of December and most of January was dominated by technical and regulatory positions, most of our FS clients desiring astute, process-focused, FCA-fixated candidates. Despite the choice for candidates, paradoxically clients could still – and do still - demand industry experience with an increased remuneration being the deal-breaker. Thus, CVs we have seen in the last few months have the usual household FS names on them with candidates moving within a confined yet potentially lucrative network.

Now the roles are starting to fill out the commercial arm of finance. In the last couple of weeks we, and colleagues in different sectors, are now getting the need for business partners, management accountants and financial analysts. Budgets are taking shape now that year-end has been finalised. The need for ACA’s changes to the preference for CIMA’s, and we are seeing the gradual shift to the strategic side of accounting.

This forces us to be alert and proactive. To keep up with the market pace and developments we have had a focus on enhancing our reach into all areas of finance so that when, not if, demand comes through we have a network ready to go.

By Phillip Dickinson - Senior Consultant - Banking and Financial services


Recruitment , See all , Accounting and Finance , Brexit
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