Careers in Regulation

 

In brief

Regulation provides the link between an industry sector and the laws that govern it. Opportunities for work therefore span the public and private sectors.

Where can you work?

  • Regulatory bodies – oversee a sector or profession, ensuring that organisations within it operate legally and fairly, that the interests of the public are protected, that fair competition is promoted and that professionals operate with integrity. UK regulatory bodies includeOfcom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), Charity Commission, Advertising Standards Authority, Ofgem, UK Statistics Authority and Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Total Professions provides a useful list of UK regulatory bodies and Gov.uk provides a list of departments, agencies and public bodies.
  • Professional services firms and legal firms – where professionally-qualified staff advise their clients and monitor their adherence to legislation.
  • Businesses and organisations – regulatory roles exist across all sectors, and LSE alumni work in areas as diverse as health, law, transport, property and communications, ensuring that relevant regulations are understood and complied with and seeking to influence changes to the way law affects business.
  • Financial organisations and institutions – opportunities exist throughout the world’s commercial banking system.  Regulatory roles also exist within international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and other development banks, where the focus will often be on supporting national central banks and the development of appropriate regulatory frameworks and processes in less developed markets.

What's changing in the sector?

In 2013, as part of its response to the financial crisis of 2008, the government created two new bodies to manage financial regulation in the UK, the FCA and the PRA. This, together with the impact of European legislation, has led to considerable growth in opportunities across the sector as financial institutions seek to ensure their ongoing compliance with the new legislation, e.g. in risk and compliance roles.

Regtech, the use of new technology to facilitate the delivery of regulatory requirements, is of growing prominence as organisations seek to access real-time information and apply algorithms and analytics to the data. We see it being implemented in several areas including fraud prevention, compliance management, customer due diligence and audit. London is currently seen as a key centre for Regtech activity.

Useful Websites

CareerHub – jobs board targeting LSE students, including events and networking opportunities.

efinancial careers – useful jobsite.

Investopedia – article about financial career options for professionals.

TARGETjobs – overview of regulation and compliance.

Early careers and internships

Financial Conduct Authority

London Stock Exchange Group

Bank of England

Useful Information

Routes in

Introduction

Given the buoyancy of regulation within the UK, there are considerable opportunities for those with experience and expertise and, in the case of the financial sector, significant openings for new and recent graduates who are already committed to a career in regulation.

Specialisation is possible at all stages, and it is relatively easy to transfer from one type of organisation to another, for example starting in a compliance role in a bank and then moving to the FCA or PRA, or vice versa.

If you're looking to gain experience

In the financial sector, both the FCA and PRA run penultimate year internship programmes, which can lead to permanent opportunities.

If you’re early in your career

Finance sector

While the financial sector certainly offers the greatest number of direct entry and experienced roles, other sectors also offer opportunities to new graduates as well as experienced professionals with specific sector expertise.

The FCA and PRA run training schemes open to new and recent graduates of any discipline. You will also find dedicated graduate schemes in compliance within investment banks. Some risk management roles will also include compliance work. 

A common entry point is that of trainee auditor, either in an in-house role, e.g. internal auditor within a company, or more typically as a trainee with a professional services firm. As well as working and training ‘on the job’ you will be expected to complete a professional qualification, typically through the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Many accountancy firms recruit graduates of any discipline into such roles, though will test numerical ability as part of their recruitment process. 

Certain banks and financial institutions will include a rotation in compliance as part of their general trainee scheme.

Other sectors

Graduate training schemes also exist within other bodies and agencies, including, Ofcom, Ofgem and Thames Water. All are open to graduates from a range of disciplines. 

If you have more experience

Employers look for knowledge and understanding of the regulatory frameworks that apply to their sector, or a motivation to learn them, as well as broader knowledge of and interest in the relevant sector.  They also highlight the importance of strong professional integrity and credibility, analytical skills, problem solving skills, persistence and excellent communications skills.

Professionals interested in regulation will often focus first on gaining experience, developing specialised sector or technical knowledge and potentially acquiring professional qualifications, before moving into a regulatory role. Many of those in senior roles are qualified lawyers or have a legal background as well as specific industry expertise.

If you’re changing career

While sideways moves are feasible, it would be difficult to make an abrupt change into regulation without some combination of sector expertise or regulatory experience. Lawson Chase provides an interesting blog post on how to get into compliance with little or no experience

Not sure what to do next?

We’re here to talk over your career plans with you. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, so don’t feel you have to have it all worked out. You can book a one-to-one appointment with a careers consultant on CareerHub.

Job roles

For those attracted to the idea of processing, interpreting and questioning large amounts of data, a career in regulation could be of interest. A desire to use or develop technical skills is increasingly sought.  The focus of work can also be on policy development, economic regulation, public affairs, communications, strategy, audit, or data protection.

There are a huge number of different job roles and functions in this sector. We've outlined some of the ones that are often of interest to LSE students, with links to where you can find more information. If you can, try and talk to someone who's doing the job you're interested in, so you get a real flavour of what it's like.  

  • Policy regulation – ensures an organisation’s internal policies reflect legislation; develop and communicate desired policy changes.
  • Regulatory affairs – ensures that products, e.g. pharmaceuticals, and their licensing and marketing, are legally compliant and fulfil the requirements of all applicable regulations. The Prospects Regulatory affairs job profile provides further details.
  • Assurance – ensures that processes comply with standards at both national and international level.
  • Audit – reviews the accounts of companies and organisations to ensure the validity and legality of financial records; advise on e.g. risk aversion methods and cost savings. Check out the Prospects Internal auditor job profile or visit our Careers in Accountancy & Financial Management page
  • Compliance – ensures board, management and employers are in compliance with rules and regulations of regulatory agencies, that company policies and procedures are followed, and behaviour is ethical. Find out more in the Prospects Compliance officer job profile.
  • Governance – responsible for ensuring good decision making and process-implementation, typically in public or third sector organisations.
  • Risk analysis – helps internal and external clients to manage internal business and IT risks; anticipates and meets evolving risk and regulatory compliance. 
  • Supervision – analyses, assesses and recommends modifications to business practices to ensure ongoing soundness and stability of organisations in the UK banking and insurance sectors. The Bank of England explains supervision in more detail.
  • Content and standards – implements standards and licensing regulations, ensures effective delivery of services (e.g. public service broadcasting).
  • Economic regulation – ensures good choice of services available to public with sufficient competition operating in market.
  • External affairs – keeps abreast of international laws which may affect business; provide advice on governance.
  • Public affairs – liaises with MPs and provides input to select committees to influence policy.
  • Strategy and market progress – monitors future regulatory changes needed to support business; defines organisational approach to regulation with respect to strategic goals.

 

You might also find some of the roles in our Careers in Financial Services page interesting.