Salary survey: higher pay for compliance professionals

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Compliance staff are in the money according to a new salary survey covering the sector.

The survey of around 100 compliance professionals, by recruitment firm PSD Group, found average compliance salaries rose between 10% and 20% in the last year, while average compliance bonuses rose between 15% and 30%.

Junior staff saw the biggest increases. A compliance assistant with two to three years' experience saw his or her salary rise 18% to between 30,000 and 50,000. Bonuses varied considerably, from 1,500 to 7,500 and more.

Compliance managers, who sit midway between compliance assistants and compliance officers, also benefited from healthy increases. Managers with between three and four years' experience saw salaries rise nearly 20% to between 42,000 and 53,000. Bonuses at this level typically ranged from around 8,000 to 13,000.

At senior levels pay appreciation was typically more modest. Compliance officers, or senior managers, with between five and seven years' experience saw pay rise just 6% to between 52,000 and 70,000.

Marnie Woolf, a director at the PSD Group, says higher pay for juniors reflects insufficient graduate recruitment a few years' ago: "This is a direct result of the small number of trainees recruited between 2000 and 2003 when the market was performing badly," she says.

However, heads of compliance and product specialists who work alongside front office staff proved an exception to the seniority rule. The survey found pay for heads of compliance with between eight and ten years' experience rose 11% to an average of 95,000. The highest paid heads of compliance earned salaries of 275,000, plus bonuses of 150%.

Product specialists with seven to nine years' experience saw pay rise 10% to an average of 85,000. At this level bonuses were as high as 50% or more of basic salary. The survey highlighted particular demand for product specialists in the equities and fixed income areas, and less significant demand for corporate finance compliance expertise.

Woolf says overall increases in the compliance market reflect buoyant hiring conditions: "There wasn't much hiring over the past two years: this is the first year that we have seen a lot of additional headcount."

Ian Morrison, a rival compliance recruiter at IMS Consulting, says figures are roughly correct, but that large variations in job titles make it difficult to be specific. Higher pay for juniors is attracting candidates from regulatory consultants and law firms, says Morrison.

He also challenged PSD's claim that corporate finance compliance talent is unpopular, pointing to recent hires at ING and ABN Amro.

For further information on the survey contact marnie.woolf@psdgroup.com.

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