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​The Top 5 Things to Know About the Compliance Sector

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The Top 5 Things to Know About the Compliance Sector

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​Whilst compliance recruitment is one of the fastest-growing areas in the financial services industry, it remains as of today a challenging sector to break into. Requiring a specific skillset and academic background - in practice, compliance officers traditionally come from legal or finance backgrounds with associated degrees - it is becoming increasingly competitive to get into the sector as it is perceived more and more as an attractive career.

Ever thought about starting a career in compliance? We sat down with Emma Karslake, Head of Research at Rutherford, to discuss the top things you should know about the compliance recruitment industry. If you have ever considered applying for a compliance role to kickstart your career, find out below the top 5 thing to know about the compliance sector.

1. The Key Personality Traits to Have in a Compliance Role

  • Attention to detail: A compliance professional must have excellent attention to detail to be able to manage and effectively handle various trades

  • Initiative: You must have the ability to know where to seek information from and to identify publicly-listed sources to process the trade effectively

  • Strong organisational skills: Compliance Officers must be able to manage and prioritise important tasks. Knowing what needs to be focused on will enhance productivity, efficiency and performance.

  • Confidence: Speaking to traders is a primary duty as Compliance Officer - being confident is therefore an imperative personality trait to have to successfully coordinate relevant deals.

2. The Duty, Objectives and Responsibilities of Compliance Professionals

  • The duty: A Compliance Officer's duty is to work effectively with senior management and other team members to identify and manage regulatory risk

  • The objectives: The main objective of a compliance professional is to ensure that the firm has a secure system of internal controls in place, which can appropriately measure and manage the risks the business faces.

  • The responsibilities: Compliance professionals will fundamentally implement an in-house compliance structure and systems to effectively support a firm with its responsibility to comply with significant laws, regulations internal operations.

3. The Most Important Skills to Have in Compliance

  • Research skills: A Compliance Officer must be able to effectively identify the right publicly listed sources

  • Communication: Compliance professionals constantly have to clearly and effectively communicate to their peers - whether these are traders or members of the board

  • Computer literacy: Spreadsheets are incredibly common in the compliance department. It is therefore fundamental for compliance professionals to have knowledge and experience with basis computer softwares​

​4. The Working Hours

The general working hours for a Compliance Officer in the UK are 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Working hours may vary upon the firm's trading hours. For example, larger corporations tend to have longer working hours, which may include working on Saturdays.

5. The Important Things to Know Before Starting Your Compliance Recruitment Process

  • Knowing the financial services industry: If you are considering a compliance recruitment process within financial services, you need to have a broad understanding of the financial world. Make sure to keep yourself abreast with the latest news in the sector, as they might have an impact on regulations or the overall world in which your firm operates in.

  • Industry knowledge: Understanding the inside workings of the Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority is fundamental when pursuing a career in compliance. Since Compliance Officers are expected to have an extensive understanding of the latest regulations and any changes when they do take place, get a head start as soon as possible.

  • Research: Whilst this may sound obvious, it is crucial that you thoroughly research the firm you'd like to apply for. Pay attention to things such as FCA fines, their financial history, and so on. This will give you a better idea of how they handle compliance and what their culture is like.


Alexandra Vintu is a Trainee - Marketing Assistant at Rutherford, the executive legal, financial crime, cyber security and compliance recruitment specialists.

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