Regulation & compliance
Regulation is a specific aspect of finance which ensures that financial institutions conform to legal requirements and operate fairly. Regulators also provide information to consumers to protect them from improper practices. In Ireland, regulation is the responsibility of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (known as the Financial Regulator), a division of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland (CBFSAI). The UK is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), with main offices in London. Financial firms employ compliance officers to ensure that the regulators’ requirements are followed. These may not necessarily be known by this job title and may be part of an accountancy role.
What will I do?
You will regulate/analyse firms and financial markets and implement regulatory policy. Starting out, you may supervise a small bank or be involved with the development of policy. Regulation also requires roles for accountants, legal representatives and IT, HR and marketing professionals.
The FSA offers a number of graduate training schemes. To work for the Financial Regulator, you apply to the CBFSAI. Recruitment is ongoing and you may work across their banking, regulating or support functions. Financial firms such as hedge fund managers often have compliance functions within their finance departments.
Both regulatory authorities particularly seek 2.1 graduates from numerate or law disciplines but do accept applications from other disciplines. For compliance functions, check the websites of specific employers. To work in regulation or compliance, good communication and analytical skills are essential.
A growing industry
The regulatory authorities effect change in the financial services industry but also are affected by change. Recent financial scandals have increased the profile of the regulatory authorities and provided them with new challenges.