What Are Your Prospects for 2006? A Chronic Skills Shortage Means a Very Good Year in Store for the City's Compliance Market ESBUSINESS (COMPLIANCE & REGULATION)

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Byline: NIKI CHESWORTH

A SURGE in compliance professionals moving on for more money is expected in the first few months of the year. With four in 10 of those working in compliance believing they are paid below the market rate, according to a survey by recruitment firm Joslin Rowe, there is also likely to be further upward pressure on remuneration.

"There will be quite a bit of movement in the first quarter and the start of the second quarter now that people have banked their bonuses," predicts Chris Hickey, director of professional services at recruitment consultants Robert Walters.

"For some experienced compliance professionals, fixed income, doubledigit increases would not be out of the question. Commodities is an area that has had a relative boom over the past nine months, so compliance officers within this asset class should see strong increases in their compensation."

Fergus Hooley, manager of Joslin Rowe's compliance division, says that as long as demand outstrips supply, salaries will continue to rise.

"There remains a chronic shortage of skilled professionals to undertake the key positions and many candidates are gaining multiple offers from employers, so we strongly expect salary packages to continue their dramatic upward trajectory," is his prediction for 2006.

"There have never been as many diverse and plentiful compliance career opportunities available and this is likely to remain the case throughout the year," adds Hooley.

Rising stockmarkets, an increase in initial public offerings (IPOs) and continuing scrutiny by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) will keep compliance professionals in high demand - as well as attracting graduates to embark on compliance as a career, forecasts Keir Macintosh manager, Michael Page.

"We, as compliance recruiters, should see continued growth in the AIM compliance market as well as the wholesale equity and equity derivative compliance market. …