Movers | Insights | Hiring Trends

…to issue 48 of House! and the summer is upon us. In what is proving to be a tectonic year so far for regulatory professionals across the globe, we thought it a good point to take stick, look back and highlight the key themes of 2019 so far. In this month’s edition we will examine whether investment banks really are reducing their compliance and financial crime prevention teams? Has Asset Management and indeed Insurance really joined the party? Are the corporates really taking their regulatory risk seriously? And, what do we predict for the remainder of 2019???

The big moves in Asia this month are new Heads of Compliance at BNP Paribas and Bank of Nova Scotia. Wilfred Yeung taking on the Canadian bank and Emmanuelle Guillerme moving up into a more senior position at BNP Paribas. 

Are banks really reducing the size of their compliance and financial crime teams?

The compliance boom is over…I think all commentators are in agreement with this. The days of late bulge bracket banks increasing the size of their compliance departments by 1000% over a four year period are unlikely to be seen again. However, have they got materially smaller? It’s a difficult one to analyse. 

In terms of expensively located headcount, a US bank that we’ll keep anonymous would be the best example, with nearly 100% turnover of their Managing Directors globally in the last 18 months and huge swathes of their compliance function being relocated to Belfast and Kuala Lumper, away from major capital markets. Has this proved a successful strategy? The firm now has far fewer MDs and many more junior directors holding senior compliance positions, but at what cost? Have they saved money? A quick google search on the firm and fines brings up several pages of misdemeanours. Some of these like the FX scandal are legacy, but many more in Hong Kong, London and New York are from incidents happening in the last two years. 

Compliance costs will and need to come down in the future, but is large scale firing and offshoring really the best way to go? Surely it’s a risk to lose so much experience in high-cost locations and MDs who are battle-hardened compliance officers. The political situation in the US may suggest a light-touch regulatory approach, but long term this is fraught with danger.

Whilst the US banks and to an extent the top tier European banks are reducing MDs and looking to offshore; the banking sectors in China, Australia and Scandinavia are starting to ramp up. The large banking groups in these locations have been exponentially growing their compliance departments and like the US houses ten years ago, it’s a focus on bodies, lots of them.

In summary, we think the bank’s are reducing their compliance functions, but largely to lower-cost locations and reducing their MD count. Much of this, we believe is impulsive and gaps will appear. Whilst the outlook doesn’t seem great to Compliance MDs in high-cost locations, this should even itself out in the next 18 months.

Have Asset Managers and Insurance firms really joined the party?

At the start of 2018, we at Arion House predicted that the Asset Management and Insurance industries would come to the party in regards to compliance hiring. There has been hiring and we have seen the predicted move from the sell-side to the buy-side within large Asset Managers, Una Neary moving from Goldman Sachs to Blackrock as Global Head of Compliance a prime example; however, have they really become hundred plus strong teams?

We did some research through our database, speaking to key clients and the largest long only asset managers still appear to have circa 120-150 compliance officers (including AML) globally. This is probably only 15-20% of the size of their Investment Banking brethren. The share of this headcount seems to be 50, 30, 20  Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. We estimate this is a growth of c20% from 3 years ago, so although significant, not the levels of growth we saw at the Investment Banks c 2013-2017.

Insurance companies seem to have remained quiet too, whilst several have hired global heads from the sell-side and added to their headcount, again it seems like it is very much a case of paying lip service and much of the headcount is being moved internally.

It will be interesting to see if the Asset Managers and Insurance firms  continue their growth or not? One argument is they could see the reduction of compliance at the banks as an excuse to follow suit, or will they come under the gaze of the regulatory eye of Sauron?

Are corporates taking compliance seriously?

The decade since the 2008 financial crisis has witnessed an explosive leap in the magnitude of fines and penalties handed down to global companies found to have engaged in improper conduct. Although the financial industries have seen the brunt of these actions, it is in fact corporates who have been exposed to the largest fines.

BP’s $20.8bn settlement over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the largest to date, although the total compensation ultimately paid out by the company reportedly exceeded $65bn! Volkswagen comes in as the third largest fine for their emissions scandal at $14.7bn.

So, have corporates learnt from these costly mistakes and started investing in more extensive and resourced compliance and control functions?

As we’ve reported over many editions of House, there has definitely been an uptick in corporate compliance hiring with firms like Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen, Fox Corp, Walmart, Coupang, Facebook and Nestle, only to name a few, all recently hiring senior compliance leaders. 

However, the breaches continue to roll in and to make matters worse, compliance isn’t getting much help. Inconsequential fines and corporate boards who experience few, if any consequences for their inaction provide little incentive for real change.

This isn’t made more obvious than the recent $5bn FTC fine of Facebook that has been blasted by advocates and lawmakers as an embarrassing joke. It was so weak that Facebook’s stock price actually increased following the announcement of the fine. Not to mention Facebook was already under a previous FTC consent decree for privacy violations imposed in 2011, but that didn’t seem to stop them.

More recent examples can be found from Boeing and the deadly dam collapse in Brazil where new evidence has emerged that suggests the global inspection company, Tüv Süd, who certified the structure as safe knew it was vulnerable to collapse. Furthermore, the slew of data breaches from the Marriott, British Airways and many more strongly suggest the worlds biggest brands do not have sufficient controls in place and have not prepared themselves for the massive threat to cybersecurity.



Farisa Zairn has joined Standard Chartered in London as their new Global Head of Regulatory & Public Affairs. She joins from Moody’s

Chris Hetherington has joined First Abu Dhabi Bank as their Global Head of Markets Compliance. He joins from Société Générale in London and will be based in Dubai.

Helene Jepson has been appointed as the new Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Group Compliance for Nordea. She’s leaving First Republic Bank and will join by 1st  September.


Wilfred Yeung
has left Nomura to join the Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) as their new Head of Compliance. He will be based in Hong Kong.

Emmanuelle Guillerme is the new Chief Compliance Officer for BNP Paribas APAC and will be based in Singapore. She moves internally having previously been the Deputy Head to Felicity Youl who has retired.

Tristan Strobl has joined BlackRock as the new Head of Advisory Compliance from UBS and will be based in Hong Kong.

Nitin Bandgar has left BAML to join BNP Paribas as Head of Prime Solutions & Financing and EQD Sales Compliance, APAC.

Sunny Chan has joined Vistra as a Director in Compliance in Hong Kong, he joins from GaoTeng Asset Management.

Aditya Chopra has joined FTI Consulting in Hong Kong as a Senior Director, he joins from Citigroup.

Jacky Chong has joined the Bank of China as a Manager in Anti-Money Laundering, he joins from the SFC and will be based in Hong Kong.

Stanley Ng has joined Citigroup in Singapore as a Senior Vice President in Regional AML Risk Management for the Private Bank. He joins from UBS. 


Bernhard Suter has moved from Singapore to Frankfurt to be the new Head of Compliance for Germany at Morgan Stanley.

Matt Buchanan has joined in London as a VP in Compliance. He joins from Standard Chartered.

Elaine Morton has left Sainsbury’s Bank to join the Scottish Stock Exchange as the Chief Regulatory and Compliance Officer for Project Heather.

Richard Davies has joined Revolut as their new COO. He joins from TSB Bank and will be based in London.

Simon Kingsbury has left HSBC to join Danske Bank as the Head of Surveillance & Investigations. He will be based in Copenhagen.


Caitlin Barnett has joined Bitstamp as their US Chief Compliance Officer. She joins from Gemini.

Maria Moskver has left Covius to join Cloudvirga as the new Chief Legal & Compliance Officer.

The Broe Group have promoted Doug Van Wyk to General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer.

Emma Dickson has joined BroadRiver Asset Management as their General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer.

Find the career you deserve!

VP / Director, Head of Legal & Compliance

Global Hedge Fund
Hong Kong


VP, Compliance & FCC

Leading Middle Eastern Bank
Hong Kong


Compliance Analyst / Associate / AVP

Global High-Frequency Trading Firm
Hong Kong


VP, Head of Monitoring & Testing

Swiss Private Bank
Hong Kong

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