In light of a series of publicised risk events within the banking and financial industry, the issue of operational risk management is hot on the agenda for CEOs, CROs, risk managers and those in both the internal and external audit functions. Thus the market for operational risk opportunities in the UK and Europe is extremely buoyant.
From bank ATM collapses, as those which affected Greece in the summer of 2015, to bank operating system failures, one most recently investigated at the Bank of England; the need for consistent and effective operational risk management has never been more crucial. Professionals with strong experience in areas of operations control and risk management, internal audit, accountancy and CFA are in demand as banks and financial institutions look to bolster their first and second line of defence functions.
Multinational insurance groups, with offices outside the EU, are particularly looking to strengthen their operational risk function ahead of the implementation of the Solvency II directive, which is set to come into effect in January 2016. Imposing on insurers the same kind of risk-based requirements as those set for banks by the Basel III accord, the Solvency II directive aims to fortify the supervision of insurance groups. Criteria for operational risk jobs in the UK and risk jobs across Europe is therefore underlined by a heightened need for individuals skilled in dealing with and overseeing changing policies and regulations, in order to ensure that the risk and control frameworks set up in response remain fit for purpose.
Risk opportunities in France are particularly prevalent across healthcare, engineering and HR as numerous regulatory changes and resulting government audits abound. While in Ireland, operational risk managers are high on the list of skills requirements to help banks make a seamless transition into the European Central Bank’s single supervisory mechanism. And in Germany the talent pool is being widened as public debate surrounding the issue of the country’s workforce gender imbalance is increasing the number of senior risk management positions available to women.
Moreover, the extended complexities of the once standalone function of AML has led to banks and financial institutions in Luxembourg making significant changes to accommodate regulatory action and the increasingly far-reaching global anti-money-laundering (AML) regulations. Operational risk professionals, particularly those who are bilingual, are in demand as firms look to develop their teams and drive forward a high-profile risk and regulatory agenda.
Following a recent change to FCA requirements which regards infringements of competition law; there is intense expectation on firms to stay ahead of potential breaches and a need to execute thorough self-assessments of their compliance with competition law. Operational risk professionals experienced in risk and control self-assessment continue to be highly sought-after as firms look to hire staff across front and middle office roles capable of meeting the highest standards of risk and responsible lending.
In addition to a keen understanding of regulatory reporting requirements, operational risk jobs in London and other major European cities require candidates to approach the role from an international perspective. Knowing how best to influence and challenge senior stakeholders across the globe, as well as having an intricate grasp of the world markets and investment banking are key to delivering a successful operational risk framework.
As financial institutions continue to grow in both size and complexity, it stands to reason that those working at the forefront of the business must evolve their understanding and management of operational risks in order to keep them to a minimum. Assessing the risk appetite, particularly in the face of more stringent regulations and tighter scrutiny is important in not only reducing the likelihood of financial losses and regulatory fines but also in retaining stakeholder and customer confidence.