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Top 5 Global Trends for Regulated Businesses

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Top 5 Global Trends for Regulated Businesses

2024 is shaping up to be a milestone year in the world of regulated business – technological transformation, intricate policy changes, and the pressure to take climate action have transformed the corporate agenda.

To help you keep ahead of the unique challenges and opportunities facing businesses in the coming year, Broadgate has identified the key global trends emerging across our target locations: The UK, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, and the US markets.

We’ll be delving into specific locational trends later on in this series, but in the meantime, we’ve compiled the overarching themes below. Check them out.

1. ESG Investment

Environment, social, and governance-related activity is on the rise as businesses seek to intertwine sustainability-driven approaches into their financial goals. Of the world’s largest 2000 publicly listed companies, 738 of them have integrated net-zero targets into their corporate strategy (Net Zero Tracker).

The growth in ESG investment rates reflects this – studies suggest that more than 50% of investors plan to increase their ESG-oriented investments in 2024.

As decision-makers increasingly recognise the importance of ESG in appealing to consumer expectations, a slew of structural realignments are well underway, driving demand for skilled financial controllers, GRC experts (Governance, Risk, and Compliance), and legal professionals.

Candidates with experience in ESG are becoming more valuable, and vice versa – businesses that adopt an ESG-focused value proposition are attractive prospects for high-quality professionals.

It’s worth noting that we’ve seen an influx of ESG-specific roles emerge recently, such as Sustainability Specialist, ESG Engineer, and ESG Controller. In most markets (the US in particular) the ESG label is attached to a substantial salary increase.

2. Digitalisation and AI

The generative AI saga has captivated audiences around the globe for a number of reasons, be it the fear of being replaced by a machine or the near-limitless possibilities it represents in a business capacity.  

AI-enabled workplaces have entered the mainstream following a golden year for innovation. We expect 2024 to be no different as the quality of tech evolves at break-neck speed. Familiar challenges, such as regulatory complexity and skill gaps, have accompanied businesses in 2024.

The push for cloud migration is a prime example, particularly in Switzerland’s banking sector, which is currently experiencing accelerated digitalisation (a market that’s historically lagged behind its UK and US counterparts).

Tech-savvy candidates are topping the list of sought-after talent as a result, marking a notable paradigm shift in what defines top-level talent.

3. Regulatory Change

Navigating regulatory complexity continues to prove tricky for businesses of all shapes and sizes, although we are seeing a range of positive implications arise as a result. This is partly due to the demand for innovation, greater workforce diversity, and resilience. Many of 2023's regulatory implementations and updates will create a major impact in the financial services space in the year ahead.

For example, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently strengthened its diversity and inclusion guidelines for regulated businesses, the Enhanced Reporting Requirements (ERR) came into force in Ireland, and the EU launched the Digital Operations and Resilience Act (DORA), ushering in a significant period of transformation in financial services across our target recruitment locations: Financial Services in the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, and Luxembourg.

We're seeing a great deal of regulatory movement across the funds and payments sector regarding cross-border scrutiny, climate risk reporting, sustainability risk management, and ESG integration, with the broader Financial Services market in the US adopting a particularly strong focus on climate-focused financial risk management. Moreover, the fight against greenwashing is picking up, reflected in the widespread changes to the way businesses will be required to report on their sustainability goals.

These changes, coupled with the unprecedented transformational elements of AI-enabled tech, will demand organisational agility. Identifying, attracting, and retaining adaptable talent will be the key to developing this trait in the coming months.

4. Diversity and Inclusion

D&I is both a core regulatory focus and a strategic imperative across the majority of our locations, and yet, there’s still a disappointing absence of representation, an issue that heightens at the senior leadership level.

Regulatory change is playing an instrumental part in changing this for the better, hopefully paving the road to a more equitable workplace for historically marginalised candidate demographics.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging have always underpinned Broadgate’s recruitment methodology – as a result, we know first-hand that diversity enriches every aspect of a business.

2024 looks set to house plenty of crucial moments for diversity and inclusion. In the shadow of inflated regulatory pressure and widespread D&I fatigue, a measured, active approach to team building and company culture will be essential if leaders hope to avoid adopting a tick-box attitude to D&I.

5. Fraud, AML, and Operational Resilience

The ever-present threat of financial crime is estimated to cost businesses around the world up to $3.5 trillion every year. In the current era, the bar to entry in financial crime is lower than ever before, thanks in part to the quality and accessibility of tech tools. AI-enhanced techniques are also proving extremely difficult to counteract, as they often take advantage of the weakest link in the chain: human error (Retool’s 2023 breach is a good example).

On the flip side, fraud and AML teams are better equipped to defend against threats (in most cases), but talent challenges are still holding functions back. One of the biggest changes to the space in recent years is that protection is now rarely viewed as a cost centre and is instead recognised as an invaluable business enabler.

Businesses can’t afford to take the reactive approach to financial crime, nor can they sit back and absorb the regulator’s consequences of failing to do so (something Big Tech has been guilty of in the past).

Regulators are clamping down on consumer protection in the financial services space, and the evolution of individual accountability (Consumer Duty in the UK, SEAR’s IAF in Ireland, Germany’s BaFin, etc.) is playing a leading role. In some instances, we’ve met candidates who refuse to move up into the Head of Compliance position because of this.

Support from Broadgate

The team at Broadgate have been connecting top talent with innovators in the regulatory space for over nine years, and in that time, we’ve been privileged to form meaningful relationships with candidates and clients around the world. Whether you’re interested in building a GRC team from the ground up, hiring a new CFO, or hoping to start a rewarding career of your own, Broadgate’s specialist recruiters are here to build a solution that suits your unique needs. Reach out to me today to learn more about our community-driven approach to recruitment:

We covered a range of topics through our events programme in 2023, including panel discussions such as 'Driving Accountability: Preparing for SEAR,' 'Building Ethical AI: The Fight Against Fincrime,' and 'The Rise of ESG Investment: Opportunities that Reshape Business.' You can find out more about our past events on the Broadgate Social page here:

Whether you want to speak on one of our panels or attend as a guest, our events are safe and inclusive spaces to share thoughts, hear from industry leaders, and form valuable connections. You can check out our upcoming events on our Meetup page here:

The Broadgate team are your full-service recruitment partners, providing community-led interim and permanent talent solutions to regulated businesses across the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, and the US. Our specialist consultants focus on mid to senior and board-level appointments across Finance, Accounting and Audit, Risk, Compliance, Fund Administration and Operations, Financial Crime and Fraud, and Legal and CoSec.