How to make a career switch into compliance

Rupert Hay
October 2, 20192 mins read

It is no doubt that compliance has been one of the most in demand functions in the financial services sector in recent years.

Due to stringent regulatory requirements and attempts to avoid big fines, our financial institution clients have been ramping up their compliance resources to cope with the on-going regulatory changes and remediation projects. If you are not already in an in-house compliance role and would like to make this switch, this is how it may be possible:

Operations into compliance: If you are in a client on-boarding role and very familiar with the Know Your Client (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations, you can quite easily move into a junior AML compliance role. If you are in a Middle Office Trade Support or Operational Risk & Control role, highly likely you are already working very closely with your compliance department. As a result, this transition can be made quite naturally (internally) especially if you have good product knowledge in either FICC or equities space. We have seen candidates make the initial transition to a trade surveillance role or in a junior FICC or equities compliance role.

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Regulatory body (HKMA/SFC/HK Exchange and Clearing) into compliance: Your knowledge and skills are sought after as you will have the inside knowledge of how a regulator thinks and works. Licensing requirements, on-site examinations checks, surveillance and transaction monitoring, listing rules - all of these can translate very smoothly into a specific function within a compliance department. 

Big 4 into compliance: With the right financial services audit or assurance experience, a compliance testing/review or AML role can be a good starting option for you. Your auditing skills and experience can be transferable as you will be "auditing" the compliance department's work - you will ensure that the financial institution is complying with the regulator's requirements. If you also had a specific compliance related engagement or secondment at a relevant Financial Institution, this is highly advantageous and your chances of getting an in-house compliance role has just significantly gone up!

Compliance consultancy firms into compliance: SFC regulated firms rely heavily on outsourcing their compliance function to compliance consultancy firms. Their one-stop, all rounded compliance advisors will have the necessary knowledge and experience to make a smooth transition into an in-house compliance role. 

If you are keen to make the transition into compliance this year, please contact me. 

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Rupert Hay's picture
Associate Director | Financial Services Front Office


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