The ‘wild west’ sector of the financial world is in need of experienced compliance officers, but they are hard to find, even when wages are not an issue.
The Coinbase case
Jeff Horowitz is a well-known name in the world of finance who has held senior compliance roles in several major companies including Goldman Sachs. After his three decades worth of experience at the traditional financial world, he joined crypto exchange Coinbase as the chief compliance officer in July last year.
He said, “It’s not for the faint of heart” since cryptocurrency is a largely unregulated world. He added, “You need to have a flexible risk needle. The old school attitude of compliance being Doctor No really doesn’t translate well to this industry.” Several senior compliance officers are being approached by cryptocurrency firms, and some of them have found it challenging to take the leap. Since regulatory uncertainty is increasing, crypto companies want to be fully equipped with experienced professionals to handle their issues.
Hiring senior executives is not easy
Executives like Horowitz who have years of compliance and legal experience are a priority for the crypto businesses, but they are equally difficult to convince. Headhunters say that these executives are risk averse and they may be turned off by the founding principles of the industry- which may appear as hostile or anti-government. Additionally, trading in digital currencies has been falling throughout 2018 which makes it difficult to promise a brighter future.
Annual salaries for senior positions in the US are around $300,000 or higher and recruiters from crypto businesses offer the same along with the chance to work in an emerging and fast-paced industry. Scott Fletcher from fintech C-suite recruitment firm Intersection Growth Partners said, “The best chief compliance officers have successfully mitigated risk for a living, and they tend to be relatively risk-averse when thinking about their careers.” He noted that finding a person who has the skill set a crypto company needs, who is also ready to work in the industry is tough.
Crypto firms usually have to navigate regulations in different jurisdictions they operate in, get information about law enforcement and also decide how new laws will apply to cryptocurrencies. Doing this could prove very challenging. The bearish markets, frequent news of hacks and scams in the sector and a hawkish view of several governments regarding the industry isn’t doing well to the industry.