Banks struggle to recruit enough compliance experts

Nearly nine in 10 financial services executives are struggling to recruit staff with the right skills as regulatory changes boost demand for experts in areas such as compliance and accounting, a report suggested on Monday.

Regulators around the world imposed tighter controls over the financial services industry following the financial crisis, including lifting capital requirements and demanding an improvement in culture and standards. As a result, staff who can interpret new directives and rules are in high demand.

As the rules come into force, banks are increasing staff in areas such as compliance and risk or finance and accounting, said Neil Owen at U.S.-based recruitment firm Robert Half , which commissioned the report.

"That spike in demand means that there is a lack of candidates with previous exposure to implementing that kind of change in the market," Owen said.

Robert Half's global hiring report was based on a survey of 1,100 senior executives from Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, the United States, Canada, Britain and France, where most of the world's largest financial centers are located.

The talent shortage appeared to be worst in Asia. In Hong Kong, 95 percent of those surveyed reported recruiting difficulties, while in Singapore the figure stood at 93 percent.

In the United States, staff who can interpret anti-money laundering rules are in particular high demand, Owen said.

(Reporting by Clare Hutchison; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)