Today’s blog is written by Robert, who works as an analyst in Regulatory Advisory within the Financial Services Group (FSG) in the Finsbury Square office, in London.
The regulatory team is made up of around 40 people, and the wider FSG is made up of around 350 people in a number of teams: Tax Advisory, Business Consulting, Actuarial and Risk, Audit, Corporate Finance, Business Risk Services, and Financial Crime and Disputes.
Since the global financial crisis hit in 2008, there has been a huge influx of regulation within Financial Services. This has reached all corners of the industry, from the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) affecting how financial advisers make recommendations to customers, to the way in which banks have to report their risks and reserves. As such, there has been an equally massive increase in the number of compliance professionals and regulatory consultants. Luckily for me, I joined Grant Thornton after graduating in 2014.
During university, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in. I was always interested in finance and financial markets, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to work in the industry. In my final year, I wrote my dissertation on the regulatory impacts of the global financial crisis, and was instantly fascinated by the implications, on the industry, consumers and the economy, of regulation. From there, I started to explore options within compliance, and along came a consulting role within Grant Thornton.
The effects of the work of the regulatory team are very far reaching. Much of the work we do has profound impacts on customers, either through them being awarded compensation for receiving unsuitable advice, or a change in the process behind the scenes that will change the nature of their savings or investments. On top of this, we evaluate the effectiveness of a company’s board, review, the effectiveness of risk management frameworks, assess the quality of a company’s Anti-Money Laundering processes, and provide a lot of ad-hoc advice.
This means, on a day-to-day level, the work I am doing is very varied. On one day, I could be with a client discussing the quality of advice given regarding pensions, and the next be analysing the implications for MiFID II or the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD). For me, this variation is one of the best parts of my job. But more than the variation of work, it’s great to work with different people, different clients, in different places (in 4 months, I’ve so far had work in numerous parts of London, Birmingham, Bristol, York and Belfast). Also, from day one, I have been given real responsibility, on projects that have major implications and consequences for our clients, and have had exposure to these clients.