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Will Brown in Wall St Journal - Compliance hires “almost business-critical” to fast moving Crypto businesses


Lloyd Griffiths cryptocurrency, Financial Services and Banking, Compliance & Financial Crime...

Fintech & Crypto sectors are speeding up finding executive talent in risk management, as new laws take effect across the world. With global regulations continuing to change the business environment for Cryptocurrency firms, more have turned to us in 2021 looking to find skilled CCO’s, with 157% more job postings this year.  

Our Executive Search Lead, Will Brown spoke to the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, and further stressed that the right Chief Compliance Officer hire has become pivotal, especially for rapidly scaling companies, and “it almost becomes business-critical [for these firms] to have a compliance individual”.  

As Crypto & other tech firms look to CCO’s & other compliance hires to adapt & thrive in new markets, businesses are becoming more proactive in hiring – and finding the right talent able to shape their company. 

This is why our niche expertise in Financial Services has been key to helping dynamic fintech businesses adapt, and why Will Brown says “an organization's talent strategy is a key weapon in its financial crime-fighting armoury.”  

Though Cryptocurrency is no new thing to those in regulated industries, with Bitcoin the 1st decentralised currency launching in 2009 – in the last year the market has boomed, with ten-fold since 2020 in value, to more than $2t.   

And with that has come a raft of new regulation across the globe, with UK, Japan & the US just some countries introducing laws in the last year – and companies have begun to adapt, with Binance, the Cryptocurrency exchange, expanding their international compliance teams.  

Hamlyn Williams have partnered with an increasing number of Cryptocurrency companies in the last year, working closely to help them evolve and find the right talent for their teams as they prepare to look for investment or expand in new countries. 

Our Financial Services Market report earlier in 2021 found more Crypto firms joining the Asian & Hong Kong market, with a trend toward a candidate-led market, meaning there are more opportunities across Finance for candidates.  

Cryptocurrency & fintech can prove good attractions for candidates amongst this, and hiring is continuing apace. We have conducted 18 searches for Chief Compliance Officer’s in 2021, against just 7 in total in 2020 - with 7 CCO hires made through our recruitment in the last 5 months alone. 

Whilst companies are building compliance teams often from scratch, Will Brown emphasised that they can make an attractive new role, and as such there is plenty of great talent ready to be found - 

“a lot of people in banks wants to move to crypto – it’s interesting and it shows a new challenge”. 

As well as those moving from CCO roles in ‘traditional’ banking, there are other skills we’ve found that firms need in hiring for CCO’s – desirable experience includes those who’ve developed compliance or know-your-customer (KYC) programs previously. 

For Hamlyn Williams, as we strive to find talent that will make a difference in fast moving industries like Crypto, this has meant knowing where to locate the niche regulatory skills that are needed, whilst balancing this with finding people excited by the dynamic culture on offer. 

Will says our recruitment has emphasized the from scratch opportunity Crypto offers in compliance.  Compared with traditional banking “there is no legacy issue and there’s a big opportunity to build a function from the ground up”. 

As the Cryptocurrency & fintech sectors continue to expand globally, there’s no doubt that these kind of compliance hires will be a strategic priority, but equally with an emphasis on culture & an upwardly mobile work environment, can remain a great opportunity for new talent too. 

Read more of Will Brown’s insights in the Financial Compliance space in the latest book ‘Financial Crime Fighter’ from Tadeo Jun Claravll - with advice on talent strategy from Will, alongside 30 other senior leaders in anti-financial crime.