By Jonathan Davis
In spite of a slow start at the beginning of 2012 the Financial Services Tax Market has been very buoyant from June and looks set to remain busy into the New Year and beyond.
We have seen a number of vacancies within the banking sector with a strong focus on operational tax at junior, mid and senior levels. Many of these roles have arisen due to the demand for foreign account tax compliance act (FATCA) specialists in light of the actions required to be taken by organisations under the new legislation. In addition, we have also seen a steady flow of vacancies arising across middle office specialist areas such as transfer pricing, VAT and front office support teams.
The wider front office tax space has remained slow at junior and mid-levels with the vast majority of moves occurring at director or managing director level. This appears to be down to tighter restrictions being placed on transaction approval from within banks coupled with less lucrative remuneration packages upon completion of transactions than seen in previous years. These factors appear to have acted as a catalyst for senior figures exiting banking platforms and moving into the less regulated and arguably more lucrative hedge fund sector, which remains buoyant.
The insurance sector has also been particularly busy with multiple vacancies arising across compliance, planning and the more niche area of life tax. However, it will be interesting to assess the flow of vacancies across the life tax space following the recent simplification of this area in the finance act (FA) 2012. It is anticipated that the simplification of this area will have an impact on public practice firms consulting in this area as more work will certainly be performed in house. In addition, the simplification may lead to a reduction in the size of life tax teams needed within particular organisations.
We have also experienced several private equity organisations taking tax specialists in-house for the first time in anticipation of increased mergers and acquisitions (MandA) activity in 2013 which is undoubtedly a positive sign both for MandA tax professionals and the wider anticipation of brighter economic conditions in the New Year.
Overall, tax within the financial services space is buoyant, with significant opportunities expected to arise in the near future across banking, insurance, asset management, private equity and wealth management. It remains to be seen what movement will take place later in 2013 but until then the financial services market remains optimistic.
Jonathan Davis is a tax professional who writes guest articles on behalf of www.pro-tax.co.uk.