Greater Manchester is emerging as one of the UK’s leading centres of FinTech, with RegTech – employing new technologies to meet increasing regulatory requirements in the financial industries – one of the fastest growing niches in the industry.
Richard Brown, from Stockport recruitment agency Grassroots Recruitment, shares some of the tactics RegTech businesses are using to get ahead in a highly competitive field.
The ongoing digital evolution, RegTech 3.0, the cost of regulation and the ever-increasing risk of incurring penalties remain the focus for many banks and financial services firms.
Anti-money laundering fines doubled globally to over £8.4 billion in 2019 and they’re expected to keep growing in 2020.
As a result, the number of established players and disruptive upstarts offering FinTech Compliance and RegTech products is also on the up, with increasingly specific and sophisticated services.
And with growing competition in the KYC, AML and Fraud Prevention markets, I’m seeing organisations employ two interesting strategies to win the race for new clients:
Leveraging relationships to stay one step ahead
With so much change, it can be hard to keep up. Networking and partnerships are key. It should be no surprise that many RegTech organisations are working in collaboration, creating unprecedented levels of consolidations, strategic alliances and big-ticket acquisitions.
Smaller players are often buddying up, partnering with one another to bundle their specific solutions together. And gaining access to another company’s client book in the process.
Established market leaders are joining ranks with emerging start-ups too, to bolster market share. Moody’s acquisition of AI-driven AML software start-up RDC is just one example.
Closer to home in the UK, organisations such as FinTech North, Innovate Finance and FinTech Scotland have emerged to propagate networks and relationships between start-ups and more established players in the UK.
But in such a close-knit sector, forging relationships and leveraging new introductions with banks and financial institutions – here in the UK, and internationally too – also requires the right people to make the difference.
Outhiring the competition
Three things top the checklist for RegTech recruitment assignments: market knowledge, sector experience, and a little black book of existing contacts.
Opportunities abound. From pre- to post-sales – BDMs, Technical Consultants, Implementation Specialists and Customer Experience professionals.
The problem? There are few top performers with proof of earnings, competitor insights and a track record in the RegTech niches of AML, Know Your Customer and Fraud Prevention. For hybrid roles needing sales ability and technical knowledge? Fewer still. Then you’ve still got to tempt them to your business; counteroffers are at an all-time high.
The organisations who are leading the way in increasing sales aren’t just first to the post with customers. They are first to the post when it comes to talent too.
Rising to the top of the tender list and grabbing the headlines ultimately comes down to having industry experts who can deliver a responsive and demand-led sales strategy. OakNorth’s recent appointment of Philip Hammond to their advisory board did just that. It’s hard to think of someone better connected than the former Chancellor.
Irish identity verification start-up ID-Pal is another example of a RegTech taking a more creative approach to recruitment as part of its scaling up and growth plans. They adapt their roles to their people across a flat organisational structure so staff can play to their strengths. With a 100% staff retention rate, they must be doing something right.
Who will sink or swim in RegTech?
Recognising the bigger opportunity cost of an empty seat and missed targets, RegTech’s rising stars are prepared to recruit in-demand rivals as they become available, so the competition can’t get there first.
Looking to the next 12 months, I believe a pipeline of talent and close relationships with all players, new and old, will be essential for RegTechs to secure competitive advantage. Whether a RegTech sinks or swims will hinge on having the right people in place, often before they need them.