There has never been a better time to be regulatory professional than today. But what extra does it take to be a successful regulatory professional?
I believe there has never been a better time to be regulatory professional than today. People are starting to get more interesting projects and roles with greater depth and range, and these opportunities are going to increase in the next few years.
Since the birth of conduct regulation and compliance in 1988, regulatory roles have gone through a number of evolutions. From 1988 we saw the development of industry specialists to mirror the Self Regulatory Organisations, followed by the de-cluttering of Principle Based Regulation, followed by the arrival of the Financial Crisis, the PRA and FCA and intrusive regulation.
I believe we are starting to see signs of the next evolutionary change: the development of thinking regulatory professionals. Firms are starting to want and expect more from their regulatory professionals. The kind of things we are starting to see are:
- A desire from many firms for recruits who are either greatly more experienced or greatly more intelligent than people previously recruited into compliance. This comes in two ways, firstly the upskilling of existing conduct risk teams, and secondly the development of graduate academies
- Many of the job specifications we currently take include a specific need for professionals to take a commercial/consulting view of risk and conduct issues and a clear focus on ethics. Firms want to be compliant with regulation, and the safety that implies, but are now looking for people who can mix this with the commercial oversight which insures that firms can flourish in the new commercial environment and the new business models, but at low risk
- We are starting to see some movement between the different risk disciplines. For example, moving from legal and operational risk to conduct risk or moving into financial crime. This is starting to have the effect of spreading knowledge from different professions, which in turn is broadening the regulatory agenda
- Finally, better systems are starting to make a real difference to conduct risk. This will mean that there are fewer jobs focused on compliance, for example data compilation or simple box ticking exercises, and more jobs focused on business skills like analysis, interpretation and design.
In conclusion, professionals now need to focus on their skills, their career and also staying ahead of market developments. This means there has never been a more interesting time to be in regulation, but we all need to significantly up our game in order to keep pace.