Thursday 7 October 2021 3:18 pm

London banks embark on hiring spree as City tilts toward post-Brexit future

City banks are embarking on a hiring spree, indicating the sector is in rude health despite warnings Brexit would hit it hard.

London banking jobs are on course to smash pre-pandemic levels by 30 per cent, highlighting the capital’s banking industry has effectively weathered the Covid-19 crisis and is tilting toward making its post-Brexit future a success.

Over 5,000 new banking jobs were created in June, the first time this has ever happened, according to Morgan McKinley and Vacancy Soft. 

Record hiring activity extended into July and August, where 5,300 and 5,700 banking jobs were created respectively.

British banks beefed up their risk and compliance teams in a bid to get to capitalise on the new regulatory landscape after the UK left the EU. Hiring for these types of specialists represented 12.8 per cent of all vacancies in the sector.

Devoting more resources to preventing money laundering and fraud was the primary factor driving up risk and compliance recruitment, Morgan McKinley said.

“Busy areas in compliance and risk include: compliance advisory, financial crime / AML, surveillance and monitoring and credit risk,” Ben Harris and Leo Bellometti at Morgan McKinley, said.

“This has been caused by the easing of government lockdown measures, and in turn with banks initially having made cuts to their staff, they now need people to join their teams again.”

Citi and JPMorgan were leading the banking recruitment charge.

Citi and JPMorgan were leading the banking recruitment charge. The former is enlisting 633 risk and compliance workers, up nearly fivefold on 2019.

JPMorgan published the second-most number of risk and compliance jobs, with recruitment levels up 192 per 215 per cent on 2019.

The recruitment drive for financial crime specialists comes amid a regulatory crackdown by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to improve anti money laundering and fraud prevention controls in the banking sector.

The regulator has launched probes into banking giants and upstarts recently, with Monzo disclosing the FCA was investigating the challenger bank for money laundering breaches.

The regulator also published data yesterday showing the number of financial crime experts employed by finance firms had dropped despite alerts of suspected money laundering activity increasing.

NatWest pleaded guilty yesterday to failing to comply with the FCA’s anti money laundering regulations.