Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Fine times for jobs

With anti-money-laundering (AML) fines still being enforced at a high rate in Hong Kong, a wave of hiring is continuing across Asia as banks develop teams to investigate, manage and counter future fines.

What does this mean for talent?

It seems that professional auditors coming from the Big Four audit firms are being picked up by financial services businesses that are ramping up their AML divisions. It's a great time for generalists to make a move into the financial services.

We have also seen banks hiring from competitors' graduate programmes to supplement these AML teams. Professionals in this group have been rotating across divisions within their programmes and have the academic aptitude to add value quickly to a compliance division. This is another opportunity for junior professionals to transition into a career in compliance.

It's been noted that for many banks, the costs of avoiding future fines has become almost as punishing as the penalties themselves. This point may have an impact on career and bonus potential for newcomers to the AML and compliance fields. We have observed new hires in these high-growth divisions finding the environment challenging to establish themselves in.

Our advice - prepare and ask questions during interviews to ensure that you understand what will be expected of you as you join the business. Ensure that expectations are in line with your ability. At this juncture, you should also be able to glean an understanding of how your training and career will be supported by the business as you move through your first 12 months.

Kate Harper, director of financial services – Hong Kong, ConnectedGroup