Published by: Business Day - 2008

The majority of compliance managers employed by the financial services industry in the past year were female, according to new research by Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters. The research, which covered investment management, asset and multimanagers, including stockbroking industries, also disclosed that blacks accounted for more than half of the placements made in the compliance arena.

Madge Gibson, a Jack Hammer partner, said at the weekend: "With greater pressure on the financial services industry to comply with black economic empowerment directives, we are now seeing a growing number of employment equity professionals taking up senior compliance posts".

Gibson said the study indicated that 79% of the candidates placed in compliance posts by the consultancy last year were women and 59% were black. She said it was gratifying to see the continuing development of women and blacks in such critical roles. "On the whole, compliance management has become a significant growth area for head-hunters operating in the financial services sector, particularly in the light of the emphasis on corporate governance, and the increased implementation of compliance and risk related regulation".

"This comes in the wake of other promising financial sector research results released last year which indicated the majority of industrial sector analysts employed by institutional stockbrokers and asset managers in SA are black," Gibson said. The research - which covered all institutional stockbrokers and asset managers in SA - disclosed that 52% of analysts within the industrial sector were black, relative to 48% who were white.

"It seems that transformational targets are being met in certain areas, with respect to both employment equity and gender equality," Gibson said.

"The statistics clearly indicate that the pressure on companies to comply with the employment equity targets set out in the financial services charter are, in specific areas, achieving the desired transformation," said Jack Hammer MD Debbie Goodman-Bhyat.

However, the research disclosed that in other sectors equity achievements were not quite as impressive. For instance, in the resources sector, employment equity analysts made up only 37% of the total.