About Us



Symes Collins is a specialist global search & selection consultancy focussing on senior Compliance & Governance recruitment across all business sectors and is the sister company of Compliance Recruitment Solutions, the oldest and most trusted specialist Compliance Recruitment Agency.  We recruit on a global basis for a blue chip client base from offices in London, Dubai, New York & Hong Kong.


David Symes – David qualified as an Accountant with a Top 20 City firm (and in 2012 – 13 was President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants London Area) then moved to Credit Agricole Indosuez in Audit. In April 1988 when the Financial Services Act 1986 came into force, he joined the Guardian Royal Exchange (a FTSE 100 Insurance Group, now part of AXA) to help set up their first Compliance Department as Deputy Head of Group Compliance, also in charge of Fund Management and later all Regulated Insurance activities. In 1994 he moved into recruitment, setting up Compliance Recruitment Solutions (CRS) in 1996 and also working as a Compliance Consultant as well as assisting various UK organisations on Compliance issues e.g. writes technical articles on Compliance whether Financial Services or broader, has spoken at UK & International conferences and on the radio and structures the main specialist Compliance salary survey used by the major online publishers.

Gary Collins – Gary served in the military before joining Ernst & Young where he managed the team looking after Audit and Compliance for Regulated Funds for three years. He was then headhunted to join Deutsche Bank in their Asset Management division (then known as Deutsche Morgan Grenfell) where he worked in both Compliance and Risk covering the UK and Offshore for a further four years. In 1999 he moved into Recruitment joining Compliance Recruitment Solutions shortly after, helping to grow the UK brand before moving to Australia. After several years running the APAC Region he returned to run the UK operation for CRS whilst specialising himself in senior level recruitment both in the UK and internationally, until in 2012 setting up Symes Collins with David.


  • We have direct compliance contacts i.e. former direct colleagues (as well as broader industry colleagues including then regulators) since we both worked directly in Compliance from 1988 & 1994 respectively, most of whom we are still in regular touch with and many of whom have become close friends since.
  • We also have those contacts we have got to know since we entered recruitment, whether as clients or candidates (many recommended to us), some of whom we are proud to say have also become close friends.
  • Additionally we have built up a broad general network through sponsoring & attending compliance conferences as well as arranging/attending colleague & regulator reunions.
  • David also chairs & organises events for the London Chartered Accountants Compliance Group he co-founded in 1988, recent meetings including the now Minister for City Regulation on regulatory reform and the former Attorney General on the Bribery Act.


  • Given the above, we can move faster than any of our competitors as our research capabilities are second to none, as having known the Compliance & Governance Market for over 20 years and followed peoples careers for as long, we can normally identify the long list to start approaching within a day or two of appointment.
  • When choosing and presenting our shortlist, we are possibly discussing candidates we have known better than one recent meeting (frequently having known them for many years and/or met them in social situations) hence have a far better understanding of their real persona and thus likely cultural & personal fit to both a company and a department.
  • Additionally, given the trust & long term relationships we have developed, we are more likely to not only identify the relevant individuals faster but if we genuinely believe the role is right for them, then both to initially encourage them to put themselves up for selection and later to successfully negotiate with them at offer stage. 



With Compliance and Risk an ever increasing area of concern for all organisations of all sizes and in all sectors, it has become more apparent that a Search and Selection business such as Symes Collins can add huge value to finding senior staff to fill new created roles in these areas, as well as replacement of existing staff, covering;

  • Anti Bribery & Corruption
  • Anti Money Laundering (inc CDD/KYC)
  • Compliance (inc Conduct Risk/ COBS)
  • Corporate Governance & Ethics

  • Data Privacy & Protection
  • Financial Crime (inc Forensic & Fraud)
  • Internal Audit & Information Security
  • Prudential & Risk


In addition to Financial Services we are able to source candidates across other sectors e.g.  have covered a number of industries and sectors including;

  • Aerospace & Defence
  • Engineering
  • Gaming
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil & Gas

  • Pharmaceutical
  • Professional Services (particularly Law Firms)
  • Publishing
  • Retail
  • Telecoms


We have successfully recruited at six figure level in Dubai, Holland, Hong Kong, Jersey, Luxembourg, Qatar, Singapore, Switzerland and across the USA (as well as Africa & South America – please see case study page). Also in addition to our main offices, we are represented in Qatar and Sydney particularly for the purposes of sourcing & meeting candidates based there, whether for local or global positions.

NB. We can directly assess linguistic abilities in both French & German (and any other major language indirectly).