Demand for specialist legal and compliance professionals has surged in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector in the past one year with banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), insurance and fintech companies beefing up their senior leadership teams, driven by an increasing need for regulatory adherence and zero tolerance from boards.

There was a sixfold jump in managing director level movement in legal and compliance functions in the financial services sector in the past one year, according to data from executive search firm Native.

Companies sought to bolster their in-house legal teams with chief legal officers, chiefs of compliance and general counsels amid a push from stricter regulatory guidelines, constantly evolving governance structure and accelerated digitisation of the legal system, according to industry experts.

A push from boards, audit committee members and investors to promote fair practices also fuelled the demand to strengthen the top legal deck with experts who can understand regulations of the Reserve Bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India, and Insurance and Regulatory Development Authority.

Aditya Birla Finance, Hero Fincorp, Kotak General Insurance, Standard Chartered Bank, Nomura, Jio Financial Services, UBS Securities, IndusInd Bank, among others, made key appointments in legal and compliance roles, according to data from Native.

“Companies are witnessing a considerable turnover within legal and compliance functions due to the constantly changing regulatory environment and evolving governance structures,” said Vinal Vikamshi, director, BFSI Corporate Functions, Native.“This has rendered the roles more complex, critical and in high demand. Employers today seek strong leaders who can not only ensure compliance with regulatory requirements but strategise on the legal aspects of the company and bring good understanding of technology to facilitate business growth,” she said.Shweta Sheth, head of compliance–corporate practice group at executive search firm Vahura, said, “As financial institutions, including banks and NBFCs, continue to navigate complex regulatory frameworks, and with the dynamic advancements in fintech, the need for skilled senior compliance professionals becomes increasingly critical.”

Over the past 10 months, Vahura tracked the movements of 60 senior compliance professionals with an average experience of 12 years from diverse sectors including healthcare, fast-moving consumer goods, fintech, manufacturing, BFSI, technology and IT. Of this, the BFSI sector accounted for 46% of the job changes.

The role of a compliance officer involves closely monitoring transactions, performing due diligence and implementing effective anti-money laundering measures.

“In response to the recent regulatory emphasis on customer protection and market transparency, financial services institutions are increasing their recruitment of senior compliance officers who can report directly to the board,” said Sheth.

Madan Sabnavis, chief economist, Bank of Baroda, said, “There is greater demand for compliance from banking, insurance and capital market regulators, flouting of which may land a company in serious trouble even if it happens unknowingly or due to lack of awareness. Hence, there is a far greater need for financial services companies and banks to appoint specialist and skilled legal and compliance professionals.”

He added that there is also a greater emphasis on corporate governance from companies and board of directors are also more demanding that every regulation be followed, as the board liability has also increased and the boards too will be questioned by the regulators in case norms are not followed.

The housing finance sector, in particular, is experiencing a heightened demand for individuals with expertise in ensuring compliance with industry-specific regulations and standards, reflecting the sector’s commitment to maintaining transparency, integrity and regulatory compliance, said Sheth.

Over the past year, senior executives changing jobs included Sudheer Reddy, group chief compliance officer at Jio Financial Services who switched from Bandhan Bank; Garima Nahar, who moved to Jio Finance as general counsel from Eight Capital; Ugen Bhutia, who joined Hero Fincorp as general counsel from SBI Card; Subhransu Mandal, who joined Hero Fincorp as chief compliance officer from Apeejay Surrendra Group; and Ravi Sureka, who joined Nomura as head, compliance, India from Credit Suisse, according to Native.


Source link