blog Bonorum et Malorum

Working in Compliance

Written by Fmi.Online

Compliance roles are vital in a modern financial institution. As you can see from the Risk chapter from FMI’s Introduction to Asset Management below, roles in compliance mean managing and mitigating some of the most critical issues faced by banks and asset managers today.

Roles in Compliance

If you work in a compliance role for a bank or asset manager, you will be responsible for ensuring your financial institution follows applicable governmental regulations and laws. Working in compliance will not only see you work closely with senior management you will also work with a  range of internal colleagues to support them to follow relevant policies and procedures.

Skills required for compliance roles

While compliance used to focus on hiring people with a law background, the changing operating environment means the framework around compliance roles has shifted. Compliance roles are more quantitative due to the greater emphasis on data analytics. This means more demand for candidates with experience in analysing data, so  degress in mathematics, economics, or business management is a sort after profile.

For graduates, the minimum requirement is an undergrad degree to get in at entry-level, usually in one of the previously mentioned areas. For lateral hires, back-office support roles, operations, IT, controls, or HR also offers great routes into compliance.

Whilst technical knowledge will always be important for people moving into a compliance role, compliance professionals with a well-rounded people skills set bring the real added value to financial institutions.

Top 5 people skills for compliance professionals

Ccomplaince demands attention to detail. Understanding and sometimes implementing minor regulatory changes is a significant aspect of a compliance role. Attention to detail can ensure an organisation remains out of the ppotlight for regulators and the public.

Working in compliance needs strong relationship management. This is especially true as you build a career in compliance, as this will see you engage a wider variety of people, at an increasingly higher level.  

Another compliance fundamental, integrity underpins compliance. Compliance professionals need to be trusted figures to hold influence, and you can not build trust without demonstrating integrity consistently. Combining relartionship management skills and integrity will help people in compliance roles to drive a culture of compliance.

In reading this, it might have become apparent that both written and verbal communication is a necessity. Compliance roles require working across desks, seniority levels, and departments. This diverse set of relationships means when delivering feedback, honest, straightforward and sensitive communication is required.

Finally, as it becomes less siloed and more embedded across organizations, compliance requires people with the confidence to debate on challenging issues, communicate both positive and negative news, and to lead conversations.

Where can compliance take you?

Due to the must-have nature of the role, compliance jobs are in healthy supply globally. The three main global financial hubs of the UK, the US, and Hong Kong/Singapore always are active in hiring people into compliance roles each year.

In the UK, uncertainty around Brexit and the recently introduced GDPR directive means that compliance remains one of the areas within financial services that continue to increase hiring. According to, this is true at all levels, from junior, mid and senior levels.

US banks and asset managers are particularly interested in people that well-versed in Anti-Money Laundering (AML), cybersecurity, and data analysis, not to mention financial crime experts. This is due to the recent trend of US regulators being amongst the most aggressive in policing and fining the financial services industry.

According to, Asia is a region where people looking to build a career in compliance might focus. Banks in Hong Kong are some of the largest employers of compliance professionals. This isn’t only restricted to investment banks and asset managers; hedge funds, private equity and brokerage firms also offer exciting roles to build successful careers in compliance.

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