Financial Services Executive Search

The uncertainty posed by Brexit and the prospect of further interest rate rises, combined with the pressure to address gender inequality as well as the ongoing impact of increased regulation, promise another challenging year for the boardrooms of financial services firms. Attracting the best executive talent will be key to success in this ever changing market.

Interest rate rises to levels not seen in almost a decade are on the horizon and could create new opportunities for lenders as borrowers look for fixed term mortgages, while the market for savers could become more buoyant with the potential for increased returns for customers. This will be heavily influenced by the outcome of Brexit negotiations, with current noises suggesting keeping the UK’s financial rules as close to those of the EU being the favoured outcome following departure from the single market in 2019.

In retail financial services, firms continue to adjust to the new regulatory regime which has challenged traditional operating models and forced huge changes to ensure compliance. This is one of the key drivers for digital transformation, along with consumer demand encouraged by the disruptors who have shaken up the market.

Gender inequality is another major issue in the sector, with the Chair of the House of Commons Treasury Committee Nicky Morgan ramping up the pressure after writing to 33 firms who had not signed up to the Women in Finance Charter demanding they explain their lack of action. The need to tackle diversity is impacting on the executive search market in the sector, with clients demanding balanced shortlists. This is, in turn, leading to flexibility on candidates for whom relocation and sector experience were previously a pre-requisite.

With this backdrop of growth, innovation and tighter regulation, there is a huge demand for expertise in a wide range of senior roles in areas including transformation, commercial, marketing and compliance – both on a permanent and interim basis. This extends to Non-Executive Director appointments, with the increasing focus on corporate governance and risk.

HW has extensive experience in executive search and interim management in financial services, with in-depth industry knowledge and access to talented executives across a range of specialisms. The Financial Services practice is headed by John Wakeford, supported by a dedicated team of researchers and consultants who boast a track record of delivering impressive multinational shortlists.

For more information contact John Wakeford.