The fall-out from the financial crisis continues to be felt within investment banking, which is operating under the intense scrutiny of regulators. Banks are building up their internal audit and internal control functions as they look to address weaknesses in their processes and systems. Many of them are developing specialist teams with strong capital markets expertise. They are also investing in technology to support the work that their auditors do.
A number of high-profile scandals led to the battering of the retail banks’ reputations last year. These came just as they were trying to shore up their balance sheets to meet the requirements of Basel III and manage their exposure to the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. Shrewd financial management and effective internal controls were therefore priorities for retail banks last year and they invested steadily in internal audit staff, particularly at newly-qualified accountant level.
Demand for internal auditors within the investment management industry has stayed steady as firms respond to regulatory pressure to tighten controls. In general, employers want to secure auditors of the very highest calibre who have good product knowledge. Hedge funds and private equity firms, in particular, look for candidates with an ACA qualification and a degree from a leading university.