It looks like almost all the technology hiring in 2013 will be related to regulation

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Most investment banking technologists seconded across to regulatory projects will have done so begrudgingly; forced across from more interesting and innovative front office initiatives. The message is clear, however – this is where the jobs will be in 2013.

There are some startling statistics about how much time and money is being spent on IT in the financial sector as a result of regulatory change.

At the Sibos conference in Osaka last week, Francesco Vanni, the chief executive of Citi’s global transaction services division, said that techies were writing 6,000 new lines of code every weekend to keep up regulatory demands. Meanwhile research from CEB Towergroup suggests that firms will spend a combined $41.1bn on IT as a result of eight major regulations including MiFID II, Emir and the Dodd-Frank Act, between 2011-13.

“Investment banks and financial services organisations are dealing with an ongoing river of change as a result of regulation, something that places constant and growing demands on their IT teams,” says PJ Di Giammarino, CEO of regulatory consultancy JWG. “There are additional reporting requirements, controls and monitoring and data management demands that need to be addressed.”

But are the banks actually hiring for these roles? Previously, most firms were reluctant to recruit externally, instead simply transferring existing technology employees across from front office projects. This appears to be changing; Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are both hiring project managers for regulatory projects, but RBS in particular is staffing up in this area.

“Banks are being forced to invest in technology because of regulatory pressures, and this is placing strain on their existing resources,” says Edward Ekins, contract recruitment manager for finance technology at recruiters Real Global Markets. “The preference is to look internally for project managers and business analysts, but there’s definitely scope for external recruitment. Most development work is carried out offshore, however.”

Looking ahead, recruiters are optimistic that regulatory technology roles will provide more hiring going into 2013. With recruitment likely to be restricted until the picture starts to improve, any IT recruitment that does happen will go towards staffing mandatory regulatory projects.

Justin Willis, director of recruiters Bright Purple, says: “The conversations that I’m having with investment banking CIOs suggest that their plans for 2013 will focus more or less solely on recruiting technologists for regulatory projects. What’s more, IT consultancies are getting bums on seats in anticipation of increased demand from banking clients.”

Project management IT roles around regulatory projects typically pay between £650-700 a day, and require experience on the specific piece of legislation, as well as an ability to deal with both key stakeholders in the project and senior management within the organisation.

“As demand picks up, banks are increasingly asking for technologists with experience of working on a regulatory project, rather than a deep understanding of a particular piece of regulation,” adds Ekins.

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