MiFID II is just around the corner, with barely six weeks to go until the directive comes into force on January 3 2018.
Throughout the year, we've reported on various pieces of research that have tracked companies' progress towards compliance. Several studies showed a lack of preparedness at some firms, but new figures have indicated that businesses have invested heavily in MiFID II skills in order to meet the deadline.
In fact, LinkedIn statistics compiled for the Financial Times (FT) show that job adverts for MiFID-related roles have skyrocketed more than 400 per cent over the last year. According to the FT, there were 1,300 positions mentioning the need for MiFID skills at the end of October 2017.
Deadline panic sets in
MiFID-related vacancies cover a range of sectors and requirements.
For example, asset managers and banks need expertise to help directly with implementation projects. Consultancies seek regulatory specialists to support clients, while legal firms want lawyers who have strong knowledge of how the changes will affect various stakeholders.
Benjamin Quinlan, chief executive of consultancy Quinlan & Associates, admitted that many financial services organisations were keen to bulk up workforces at the eleventh hour in order to meet the deadline.
"There is a lot of paperwork and logistics to deal with in the next few months. [The hiring spree] is really a last-minute panic," he explained.
London remains the MiFID II hotspot, despite ongoing fears that Brexit will impact the UK capital's reputation as a world leader in financial services. LinkedIn found that one-third of advertised MiFID-related roles were located in the City, with the remaining two-thirds spread across the rest of the world.
What MiFID opportunities are available?
As we predicted last year, contracting has seen a significant boost over the last year due to the looming MiFID deadline.
Many organisations hire interim staff to handle business as usual tasks while senior management tackle the directive, whereas other firms bring in regulatory change specialists specifically to manage MiFID projects.
We expect contractors to continue benefiting from MiFID-related opportunities well into 2018. After all, organisations will inevitably need to fine-tune their systems, controls and processes after the directive is introduced.
The FCA has already indicated that it understands the onerous obligations that MiFID II will impose. The authority has therefore said it would act "proportionately" with non-compliant firms and work with them to get over the finishing line.
Will research analysts take a hit?
Candidates with MiFID II skills are still in high demand, but not all applicants will be happy with the impending directive.
The regulation seeks to improve transparency regarding research fees and value, which could lead to a drop in vacancies for analysts at investment banks and brokers.
Last month, Capital Access Group estimated that up to 50 per cent of research analyst roles could disappear in the UK following MiFID II's introduction. Investment research spending overall could plummet by as much as two-thirds within the next four years.
However, according to the FT, these analysts may find opportunities elsewhere.
FinTech firms that deliver research platforms are growing in popularity due to MiFID, offering one avenue to analysts. Some professionals may also find new roles within broker firms, such as providing insight on mergers and acquisitions.
Preparing for MiFID II
MiFID II's arrival in the new year means compliance projects will be well underway at most businesses by now.
But if your organisation requires help with MiFID-related activities – both in the run-up to the deadline and following the directive's introduction – please contact Barclay Simpson to discuss your needs.
Alternatively, candidates with MiFID-based skills remain in high demand, so get in touch if you're keen to learn what career opportunities may be available.