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Informed by over 50 years of professional compliance experience

Our clients do not only benefit from our technical expertise service – They benefit from our established network of contacts, robust candidate database and consistent advertising sources.

As compliance recruiters, we are able to cover permanent, temporary/contract or part-time roles.

Reach out to us at to find out more how we can meet your specific risk and compliance recruitment needs.







Why use search and, in particular, Syme Collins?

Hiring key people for executive positions is too critical to leave to chance. It is imperative that you use a search company that is adept at finding rare and exceptional talent in a given area.

 As a specialist compliance recruiter, Syme Collins know our niche market better than anyone – We know compliance, speak compliance and have the market comprehensively mapped out, with professional contacts and relationships stretching back to the late 1980s.
 It is no secret that executive search is the tried and tested way of confidently identifying and engaging with exceptional and talented individuals who have the specific skills, knowledge and experience you need. Syme Collins know such people, and in some cases have been tracking their careers for the past two decades.
 Headhunters cast a far wider yet more precise net, identifying candidates beyond the typical range of other talent resourcing channels. This is a particular strength of ours at Syme Collins, and a source of our successful track record as a global compliance recruiter (See our case studies below).

 Executive search consultants are engaged on far fewer assignments, and are therefore more focused on specific roles and follow a proven process that ensures the best candidates for a role are identified. Syme Collins follow a tried and tested process that delivers results time and time again, focusing on the quality not only of our candidates but the overall service we provide.


 Executive Search targets and engages with candidates who are not actively looking for new prospects. These candidates are generally the cream of the crop, and are too busy being successful in their current role to look for new opportunities. We are experienced in identifying such candidates and engaging with them to sell them on the advantages of a career change, and have such conversations on a daily basis.


 The candidates we put forwards are always thoroughly vetted and interviewed as part of a stringent and detailed process. You can always be assured that our shortlisted candidates meet the job specification and cultural requirements laid down by you. Our background in compliance means we can access technical knowledge, while our years of working in Blue Chip organisations and recruitment allows us to produce accurate and detailed personality profiles.


 Hiring mistakes are always expensive, given the waste of senior management's times, the agency fees involved, the salary paid out so far, etc. These mistaktes are typicall the result of hiring the best candidates currently available rather than the best client in the market. This is easily prevented by using a headhunter who:

  • Understands the job specification;
  • Understands the culture of the business;
  • Is adept at controlling the expectations of the client and candidates throughout the process.

 Syme Collins understands the intricacies of the industry, the pressures involved, the challenges and the rewards that a compliance and governance role entails. This eliminates the guesswork, and ensures that only candidates who meet the job and cultural requirements for a job are introduced to the client.


 Headhunters stay in such with the market, and are up to speed with current trends, salary expectations, compensation levels, etc. This is a major strength of ours - We know our niche market exceptionally well, have watched the ups and downs of the UK and Global markets for the past 25 years and can accurately assess a candidate's market worth. We do not talk up salaries and, as such, are happy to agree upfront fixed fees to ensure complete impartiality during salary negotiations.

For compliance recruitment solutions with a difference, get in touch with Syme Collins at






Symes Collins - CASE STUDIES

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. This meant 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.


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, we 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.


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.


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 candidates on the shortlist 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.


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 exclusively appointed to assist with searching for a new UK Head of Compliance.  The role was to manage 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.


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.


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.


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 (This was made easier as had known him socially over 10 years since having first placed him).


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.


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 and left shortly after, whilst our placement (after a second shortlist) was so successful they were later given that combined role.


Complex Pan-European Retained Assignment Across 8 Countries:

We were approached by a multinational group looking to place expat 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 the 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, coordinated 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 expat 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.







International Reach 

Syme Collins maintains offices situated in the City of London, and are also represented in Dublin, Geneva and Madrid (See our partners page for more information). Our reach as a risk recruitment agency extends to sourcing candidates across all major continents, a track record that includes successful placements in North and South America, Africa, Australia, Asia (Encompassing the Middle East, India and the Far East) and throughout Europe.

We possess the expertise required to navigate the complexities involved in negotiating compensation packages in various currencies, accounting for factors such as different tax systems, overall living expenses and specific considerations such as housing costs in desirable locations and education allowances.










Man performing an internal audit on a laptop in a meeting

Andy Love FCIS

Andy was the MP for Edmonton from 1997 until standing down at the 2015 General Election. During his last ten years in Parliament, he was a prominent member of the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) during a turbulent period in Financial Services and took a strong interest in Regulation during the TSC investigations into the failure of Northern Rock in 2007 and subsequent crisis across UK Financial Service in 2008-09.

After the Libor scandal broke in 2012, he was one of only four MPs from the TSC asked to sit on the Parliamentary Commission into Banking Standards, whose findings led to far-reaching changes in Regulation, including the introduction of the Senior Managers Regime. Since stepping down, Andy retains his political interests, chairs a local Housing Association and is considering various NED roles.


Brian Harte FCA

Brian, a business graduate, qualified as a Chartered Accountant with a Big 4 firm. He then held a variety of audit roles with The Chase Manhattan Bank NA (Chase) both in the UK & overseas returning in 1988, as Head of Compliance, when the first full UK Compliance Regime came into force and was therefore instrumental in setting up Compliance in the Region.

During a period of rapid change, including Chemical Bank's acquisition of Chase (renamed The Chase Manhattan Bank) and later the acquisition of the Robert Fleming banking group, he headed up Compliance and a variety of other ancillary roles for all of EMEA as well as the UK.  After helping with the integration project after the acquisition of JP Morgan, in 2001 he was headhunted to Barclays where he became their first Global Head of Compliance & Regulatory Affairs, heading up a team of 350 across the Group.

In 2006 he moved to RBC again in a pan global role including some time based in the Asia Pacific after which he set up his own consultancy, advising major trade associations and firms both in the UK & globally, whilst considering NED roles.



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Women in a meeting with a laptop

Sam Stewart FCA

Sam has over 20 years compliance experience gained as a practitioner, advisor and regulator. He is a founder and director of AML Solutions Group, a provider of MLRO and other AML services to clients in the UK and Ireland.

He has held Compliance Officer and MLRO positions in both Ireland and the UK and has previously been EMEA Head of Compliance for both Northern Trust and State Street Global Advisors. Before that, he was a Director at Deloitte's Regulatory Consulting division having started his compliance career as Head of Asset Management Investigations at the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (as it is now known). Sam is a Chartered Accountant and Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments and currently considering NED roles.


Peter Dunphy

Peter has worked in the City in recruitment, insurance and investment. He founded Darwin Rhodes which became the largest insurance recruiter globally, was CEO until sale of the business in 2011 and has also worked as a private equity investment director.

He is an NED of a leading independent regulated banking group and previously Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee for the Liberal Democrats (and still responsible for overseeing the financial compliance of the party). He is also an elected City of London councillor for the ward of Cornhill (elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2013 and 2017), chairs the City Licencing Committee and sits on various other bodies including the Court of Common Council.

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  Symes Collins demonstrated a clear understanding of not only the role and firm they were recruiting for, but the qualities of the desired individual...

Unlike many other Search agencies, Symes Collins demonstrated a clear understanding of not only the role and firm they were recruiting for, but the qualities of the desired individual, their new colleagues and the necessary cultural fit. This ensured that there were no surprises on either side, resulting in the candidate and firm alike knowing what to expect from the very first day of the new role. Head of Risk & Compliance – Heartwood   |     |  

  I have worked with Symes Collins on a number of searches over the last couple of years, and have always been very impressed with the level of service I have received....

I have worked with Symes Collins on a number of searches over the last couple of years, and have always been very impressed with the level of service I have received. They operate in a very tight, candidate-driven market, where their previous industry knowledge is invaluable, not only in sourcing the right candidates, but providing insights into the market more broadly. They appear to be very well networked at the senior end of the market, and I wouldn’t hesitate to engage them again. Recruitment Manager – Henderson   |     |  

  I have worked with Symes Collins on a number of senior Compliance assignments, which they have successfully completed....

I have worked with Symes Collins on a number of senior Compliance assignments, which they have successfully completed. Their service has been very impressive. They take the time to understand the organisation, our culture and the role and then successfully match candidates to each of these. Their industry knowledge and expertise means they tend to find candidates who are not typically actively looking for new roles and this ability really distinguishes them from other providers. Head of Human Resources – European Bank   |     |