Case Studies


1. UK Private Wealth Manager – Head of Compliance & Risk: We were invited to tender for the retained assignment to search for a new Head of Compliance & Risk for a UK High Net worth Private Wealth Management firm. We duly won the assignment and began our search, which had added complexity from the outset as the business was in the process of being acquired by a larger Financial Services business so we needed to be able to demonstrate to candidates that there was longevity in the role and stability in the business.  We also had a challenge in package negotiation as the new parent company did not pay bonuses thus we had to factor this into managing our candidates and clients expectations to reach a desirable base and package outcome for both parties, which we were able to do.  We have since been engaged by the parent company to undertake other senior searches.

2. Institutional Asset Manager – Head of Compliance & MLRO: We were approached by the Head of HR after the outgoing Head of Compliance had recommended that they contact us. After a brief tender process were retained to find a replacement Head of Compliance for the retiring incumbent.  We were able to quickly produce a very compelling short list for the Head of HR and after she had interviewed four of six shortlisted candidates, two were invited back to meet the current Head of Compliance and COO. One candidate was selected to meet the CEO, CIO and Chairman after which they were offered the position.  We made the offer to our candidate which included negotiating a bonus buy-out and the offer was duly accepted.

3. Institutional Property Asset Manager – Head of European Compliance & MLRO: Whilst this was a new joint venture (between a US and UK Asset Manager) we are preferred suppliers to the UK Business and had recently found them a UK Head of Compliance, so they approached us to undertake the search for the Head of European Compliance for the new joint venture.  This role required candidates who were technically sound in both UK and US regulation as well as having a good understanding of property investment and European fund structures.  Even with the strict technical requirements for the role, we were able to provide our client with a short list of eight candidates all of whom met the job specification requirements. The candidates had to meet both UK and US senior management over a series of interviews across numerous locations and also via video conference with the US, all of which was managed and co-ordinated by us. An offer was made to the preferred candidate who accepted the role after a suitable package was negotiated by us.

4. Major Private Bank & Wealth Manager: We were retained by the CEO of this business after the Head of Compliance with a partner business had recommended our services.  We were asked to find a Compliance Officer who was on the upward trajectory of their career and was possibly even looking for their first CF10/11 role.  After a four week search and selection process we were able to short list seven very impressive candidates who met our clients expectations.  The CEO interviewed all seven of the short list and then invited four of these candidates back for a succession of interviews with other senior executives.  They then selected a final candidate who met the Chairman and CEO once more.  We then negotiated a tricky package deal which included a significant but reasonable market uplift in base (due to the added responsibility of being the registered CF10 and CF11) and also a guaranteed first year bonus.

5. Leading UK Asset Manager – UK Head of Compliance: CRS our sister company are preferred suppliers to this client and they have successfully recruited for them for over 13 years, especially as our MD is a former colleague of the Global Head of Compliance. After a full presentation and tender process, Symes Collins were exclusive appointed to assist with searching for a new UK Head of Compliance.  The role was to mange a large diverse team with an added need of someone who was strong both on Institutional and Retail Asset Management across a broad product focus including alternatives and who also had very good funds structures knowledge.  We were able to submit a compelling short list within three weeks, which included Heads of Compliance from a number of our Client’s main competitors.  Of our initial shortlist five were interviewed by the Recruitment Manager and Global Head of Compliance and two were immediately shortlisted to meet the CFO, CEO and CIO.  After a final presentation by the two finalist candidates, an offer was made which we managed through to acceptance.

6. Global US Banking Group– Divisional Head of EMEA Compliance: Having found the right candidate after a long process including meeting Front Office Directors & Divisional Global CEO we had a difficult negotiation process due to candidate’s current stock & options package as well as bonus issues. We successfully resolved these and within a couple of years our placement was promoted to EMEA Head for entire Bank.

7. Major European Bank – Head of UK Compliance: We were briefed to find candidates who matched the Bank’s need for a strategist able to relate at Board level, co-ordinate teams below and still understand the detail to ensure proper oversight could be maintained (especially as the original MiFID was due to come in within two years). We used our usual sources and placed an advert on the front page of an FT Compliance Special which succeeded in bringing in the successful candidate.

8. US Broker Dealer – Head of UK Compliance & Legal: This task was complicated by the need not only for the candidate to have sufficient experience to fill a combined role but to be adaptable to a strong US management culture. This was during a period of economic uncertainty which meant that the whole process took over six months from introducing the successful candidate to firm offer, during which we had to maintain the candidate’s interest (made easier as had known him socially over 10 years since having first placed him).

9. Expanding European Management Consultancy & Solutions Provider – Head of UK Financial Services: We were tasked with finding a senior industry figure who had connections & credibility through his profile in order to drive the firm’s expansion into the UK (again pre original MiFID). We headhunted a Director level Regulator, after arranging overseas interviews he was offered the role and we successfully negotiated the placement despite original issues on his notice period.

10. Leading US Investment Firm – Head of EMEA Compliance: We were briefed by the APAC H of C (who was covering the EMEA role too) to find a strategist. After a successful shortlist was interviewed he changed the brief to a technician as he was hoping to get the original role himself as a combined H of C (non US). However he did not get this, left shortly after whilst our placement (after a second shortlist) was so successful they were later given that combined role.


We were approached by a multinational group looking to place ex pat Heads of Compliance across Europe, Africa & Latin America, complicated by three factors; firstly some locations required fluency in either French or Spanish as well as English; secondly they wanted different specialisms that could be utilised outside their immediate territorial remit e.g. AML, Anti-Bribery & Corruption etc; thirdly locations differed widely in cost of living & desirability.

Given above, the assignment needed to be approached on a selection basis hence we advertised globally in printed media and both generic & specialist online sites. We then presented the shortlists in person, co-ordinated phone & video first interviews, second round HR phone calls together with online psychometric tests and finally in person interviews whether at our London office, the client’s offices (European, Middle East and US) or other venues.

We then negotiated packages (gross & net) sometimes with full ex pat benefits (including accommodation, education etc) and eventually 6 roles were filled by inter-continental moves e.g. Northern Europe to both Africa & South America, whilst 2 roles were long distance relocations within the same continent.