This is where you can still make retirement money in financial services recruitment

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Times are tough for financial services recruiters, particularly financial services recruiters focused on investment banking. Some are trying to reinvent themselves as buyside recruitment experts. Others are digging into darker corners.

One such corner where it still seems possible to bring in very big money is recruitment related to Solvency II legislation.

For insurers, the legislation (which aims to strengthen the capital requirements and risk management practices of all insurance and reinsurance firms with an annual premium income exceeding €5m) is proving such a burden that the implementation deadline has been extended to January 2014. For recruiters, it's all proving to be something of a boon.

"Recruitment around Solvency II has created an industry separate from insurance recruitment more generally," says one wealthy insurance-focused recruiter who declined to be named. "This is my pension pot –demand for risk professionals and actuaries is going through the roof. Competition has definitely heated up in the recruitment sector, there are easily double the number of recruitment firms trying to get in on the act than this time last year."

The bad news is that if you're employed as a mass market recruitment consultant focusing on Solvency II roles, you're unlikely to retire to your beachfront property by 2014. Much of what you earn will go to your employer.

However, assuming you were to go it alone or work in a boutique operation, there's potential to earn good money. Most of the recruitment is on an interim basis, and actuaries working on Solvency II projects earn an average of £1k a day (it's also rare, but not impossible, for them to bring in £2k a day).

The margin for recruiters is 15% on these hires, suggest sources. For an actuary earning £1k a day, assuming a monthly billing of 20 days, a recruiter earns £3k per placement. On an annual basis (if the placement takes four weeks' holiday), this works out as £33k per candidate a year. If you placed just 15 candidates, this means nearly £500k in your pocket.

This has not gone unnoticed. "A rising tide lifts all boats," bemoans one specialist actuarial recruiter. "More firms are capitalising on the increase in demand from Solvency II, but not all of them have the expertise to adequately serve clients."