Hiring A Head of Compliance for A Regional Bank


Our client, a major regional bank, wished to undertake a highly confidential recruitment assignment to source a Head of Compliance. This senior leadership role was to lead the Compliance and AML team whilst developing and implementing an effective compliance and financial crime prevention strategy in conjunction with the bank’s Risk Committee. There was a need for this person to have the gravitas to make a personal impact, to be instrumental in transforming the compliance culture of the business. Also, key to this assignment was to ensure that the regulator was confident that their requirements were understood and being adequately met. This was a senior and highly sensitive appointment which carried a high degree of political, brand and regulatory risk.


Given the sensitive nature of this assignment, the appropriate solution was to conduct a highly controlled retained search. In addition, our client asked us to approach candidates on a confidential basis without initially revealing their identity. This is always a tricky approach, which requires a lot of patience and goodwill from the candidates, although interestingly, their ability to deal with this level of confidentiality is often a good indicator of their overall calibre. We identified suitable candidates from both within the region and from wider international markets and communicated enough information to them to gain their interest and secure their commitment to the rest of the process. We produced an anonymous job description and other detailed background information in order to provide reassurance as to the authenticity of the opportunity to the point where they would release their personal information to us, and to the end client. Once the client had agreed on the preferred candidates, we were then able to disclose the identity of the client and reveal full details of the Head of Compliance opportunity, continue with the recruitment process whilst ensuring he highest levels of confidentiality were maintained throughout.


While the level of confidentiality involved slowed the sourcing and selection stages of the process, we were able to identify and gain the interest of a strong field of senior Heads of Compliance. Following a painstaking recruitment process the client ultimately offered the role to a senior compliance professional from the UK with excellent leadership credentials and proven ability to forge highly effective working relationships with regulatory authorities and internal stakeholders.