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Banks stoke hot job market for compliance pros

Some of the biggest U.S. banks are adding risk and compliance professionals as they seek to comply with increasing regulations, particularly in their overseas operations.

The use of deferred- and non-prosecution agreements is also emphasizing the compliance function. The settlement agreements often require outside compliance monitors to advise companies how they can strengthen their compliance programs.

In a Wall Street Journal article Monday, Rachel Louise Ensign focused on J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., which has been the most aggressive in its compliance-related hiring.

In his annual letter to shareholders in April, J.P. Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said 13,000 new hires would come on board between 2012 through the end of 2014. These employees would include those in risk, compliance, audit and other areas, he said.

A sizeable number of new bank employees are consultants. One source told the WSJ that positions focused on preventing financial crime pay between $70 and $110 an hour.

For legal and compliance workers within banks, total compensation rose by 5% last year, according to executive search firm Options Group. 

J.P. Morgan recently posted about twice as many compliance jobs as any other bank, according to the founder of AMLSource.com, Christian Focacci. The bank’s hiring effort “is creating a war for talent among large banks and a vacuum at smaller banks,” Destree Rickard, managing director at recruiter BakerGilmore, told the WSJ.

J.P. Morgan does not disclose its total number of compliance and risk employees. But it is expected to have 8,000 staff focused on monitoring and enhancing its anti-money laundering program alone.

Citigroup is adding 6,000 jobs in its risk management, compliance and anti-money laundering groups between 2011 and the end of 2014. And HSBC added about 1,800 compliance professionals in 2013.

Big banks lure star employees from other firms. J.P. Morgan hired Pamela Johnson to be financial-crimes compliance managing director when she left Citigroup in 2012, and Lori Richards moved from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to serve as J.P. Morgan’s chief compliance officer in its asset-management unit.

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Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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